President Proposes Increased Funding for Nurse Loan Repayment & Scholarship Programs - page 4

by VickyRN Asst. Admin

AACN Applauds the President's FY 2010 Budget Request President Proposes to Increase Funding for Nurse Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs from $37 Million to $125 Million WASHINGTON, DC, May 7, 2009 - Today,... Read More


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    One supposes that increased funding for nursing education is a very good thing indeed, it still does not address the main problems regarding the profession. Aside from perhaps the run up and duration of both world wars, the United States does not have a "shortage" of nurses, but rather a shortage of persons willing to put up with conditions of employment at bedside. Providing more funding to produce more nurses will increase the pool of those available, which only empowers hospitals and other clinical settings to by and large continue treating nurses as cannon fodder.

    Depending upon where one lives, GNs and newly licensed RNs cannot find work, despite there being a "nursing shortage". Hospitals are either not hiring or cherry picking, with little or no changes being made in conditons nurses work under for the most part.

    Hospitals have always depended upon a constant flow of "cheap" labour, that is new grads from diploma programs to replace nurses who departed for various reasons (marriage and or child rearing, injury, simply fed up and so forth), and this still went on well into the 1970's and 1980's. However as the full effects of Title IX and other federal education programs, along with lawsuits have opened vast amounts of other doors for women to work elsewhere, many have done so, this also led to the mass exdous of nurses from the floors as nurses found other positions elsewhere. The rise of out patient services and clinics has also meant nurses do not need to stay at bedside.

    Many hospitals have responded by increasing compensation and benefits, however more, much more could be done.

    The federal government via Medicaid and Medicare could go along way removing the nursing shortage by addressing the problem from the other side of the barn. Instead of increasing (or attempting to) nursing students, improve working conditions by such things as mandatory patient to nurse ratios, requiring hospitals and other clinical settings have adequate support equipment such as lifting devices, stream lining and making simple the masses of paper work. The federal government via it's programs also provides certian hospitals higher reimbursement rates due to their education of doctors, well what about providing the same funding for nurses?

    One cannot measure a thing unless one looks for it, therefore nursing should be removed from "bed and board" and have it's own line item on billing, even allow for billing of nursing care in the units and OR.

    First response from hospitals and their supporters would be that such schemes would cost dear, but we are already paying dearly in terms of medical/nursing errors leading to deaths or disease, a very unsteady supply of nurses and a constant need to replace nurses worn or burnt out.


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