Rep. Vance pushes for nurse workforce planning with bill that would create PA Center for Nursing
PSNA Supports Proposed Legislation
Feb. 13, 2003 - Adequate and appropriate nursing resources in Pennsylvania will be closer to reality under legislation sponsored by Rep. Patricia Vance (R-87).
House Bill 264 creates a Pennsylvania Center for Nursing to ensure sufficient and suitable nursing resources to meet the health care needs of Pennsylvanians.
"Following a series of public hearings last legislative session, the House Professional Licensure Committee found that the shortage of health care professionals is most acute in the nursing field," Vance said. "Anyone who has had a recent hospital stay or whose relative has been hospitalized realizes this situation."
The Pennsylvania Center for Nursing's primary mission will be to assist nursing schools, nursing service organizations, health care organizations and other workforce development groups and agencies to initiate concerted efforts around the creation of long-term strategies to increase the number of registered nurses working in Pennsylvania.
The legislation is patterned after the successful North Carolina Center for Nursing, established in 1991 and charged with nurse workforce planning, addressing issues of nursing supply and demand, and recruitment and retention. The North Carolina Center maintains a database on nursing supply and demand, and brings together policymakers and representatives from the fields of nursing and other health care organizations, business and community leaders, educators and lawmakers to assess its research and develop solutions to problems based on their findings. It also develops and evaluates initiatives that promote recognition, reward and renewal for nurses.
"The state's working population is rapidly aging and retiring, causing much concern over whether there will be a sufficient health care workforce to meet the demands of this expanded elderly population," Vance said. "Considering the fact that nationally the average age of a registered nurse employed in nursing is 43, who will replace these skilled people upon their retirement?" In the past five years the state has graduated 40 percent fewer nurses, while only 10 percent of the present nursing staff is under the age of 30.