House bill calls for improving nurses' work environment

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American Nurses Association Endorses Legislation Addressing RN Staffing Shortage

House bill calls for improving nurses' work environment through 'best practices'

Washington, DC -- Calling it a real plan to ensure quality patient care and improve nurses' working lives, the American Nurses Association (ANA) strongly endorsed legislation unveiled today by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) that takes aim at nurse staffing problems plaguing health care facilities nationwide.

Similar legislation, S 1594, was introduced last October by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).

While factors like the aging RN workforce and decreased enrollment in nursing school programs play a role in the current staffing crisis, ANA believes a major contributor is nurses' dissatisfaction with their workplace. This dissatisfaction is leading experienced nurses to leave the bedside, and it's hindering efforts to recruit qualified men and women into the profession.

The "Nurse Retention and Quality of Care Act of 2002" will provide grants to health care facilities to develop and implement strategies, or "best practices," that will make the workplace attractive to nurses. The legislation specifically points to strategies the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of ANA, promotes through its "Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program." Acute and long-term care facilities designated by ANCC as "Magnets" have proven track records for retaining nurses, even during times of national shortages, because they put a high premium on nursing services.

"Average nurse retention in Magnet facilities is twice as long as that of non-Magnet institutions," said ANCC President Cecilia Mulvey, PhD, RN. "More important, patients in Magnet facilities experience fewer negative outcomes, shorter lengths of stay, and increased satisfaction with their health care services. This legislation builds on model practices with a proven track record."

Said ANA President Mary E. Foley, MS, RN, "I can think of no better way for our lawmakers to recognize registered nurses during National Nurses Week than by supporting this legislation. Nurses want to work in an environment that is safe, well-staffed, and where they have a true voice in shaping clinical practices and hospital policies. This legislation will help create that environment."

National Nurses Week is observed annually, May 6-12.


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and then theres the Nurse Reinvestment Act, 2 different versions of which have been passed by each House of Congress so its delayed until they consolidate their versions of it:

Passage of Nurse Reinvestment Act

Washington, DC --The American Nurses Association hailed the passage of the Nurse Reinvestment Act (H.R. 3487) by the U.S. House of Representatives as a major boost for recruiting more nurses into the profession and stemming the nation's impending nursing shortage......

If signed into law, the measure, which was introduced by Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), would authorize federal funding for scholarships and loan repayments for nursing students who agree to work in shortage areas after they graduate. In addition, the bill would include funding for public service announcements aimed at promoting nursing as a career.......

"The Nurse Reinvestment Act will go a long way toward attracting young people into the nursing profession and should help sidestep a looming shortage that may soon reach crisis proportions," said American Nurses Association President Mary E. Foley, MS, RN. "This investment in the nursing workforce is crucial to the health and welfare of all Americans and will enhance the nation's ability to respond to public health crises. ANA applauds the work of

Representatives Capps and Bilirakis in making nursing recruitment and education a priority." .......

According to Foley, the current nurse staffing crisis and emerging shortage of RNs pose a real threat to the nation's health care system, particularly following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Employers, who already were having difficulty hiring experienced nurses especially in emergency departments, critical care, labor and delivery, and long term care now have to consider the potential impact of the war on terrorism on nurse staff vacancies

combined with efforts to enhance response capacity for biological and chemical warfare. These added factors, along with declines in nursing school enrollments and the aging of America's nursing workforce, "are placing even greater strains on America's nurses," Foley said....

Citing projections which show that the number of RNs per capita will fall 20 percent below requirements by the year 2020 in part because fewer young people are coming into the profession while many older, experienced nurses are retiring Foley said the nursing education legislation will help stem the nursing shortage by recruiting more nurses into the profession. But, at the same time, she noted, additional measures are still necessary to

prevent today's practicing nurses from leaving the profession as a result of serious problems in the workplace, including stressful, physically demanding working conditions; unresolved health and safety concerns; and mandatory overtime......

"The funding for education provided by this bill will boost nursing school enrollments and enable practicing nurses to go back to school to increase their levels of education and that is encouraging," Foley said. "It is now up to the Senate to act on this recruitment legislation, and to Congress as a whole to act to improve working conditions for nurses so we can retain the nurses we recruit."

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and here to make that delay even longer, is the American Hospital Associations who are fighting against it for the for-profit facilities. For profit facilities are exempt from receiving these government grants of tax payer funds for recruiting efforts, since if they are turning profits, they obviously can pay for their own recruiting themselves. That doesnt sit well with the for-profits & so there goes the AHA lobbying against the bill that nurses are fighting so hard for - of course they make it sound like theyre doing it for the benefit of the nurse and not that for-profits are just looking for more free money for themselves so they wont have to spend any of their profits to improve staffing........

AHA, Federation Urge REMOVAL of Nurse Reinvestment Act Restrictions


AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals say they will oppose the Nurse Reinvestment Act unless Congress removes from the legislation restrictions barring nurses from working in for-profit hospitals to pay back their nursing loans to the government. In a letter sent to leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack and Federation President Chip Kahn said both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill unfairly limit nurses' eligibility for financial assistance based on the ownership status of the hospitals where they choose to work. They said the nursing shortage hurts non-profit and for-profit hospitals alike, adding "it is critical that all hospitals that provide care to Medicare patients receive the government's help in addressing their nursing shortage."


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