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Congress may fund Nurse Reinvestment Act at drastically reduced level

January 24, 2003 -- After a five month delay, the Senate has approved funding of only $20 million of the $250 million requested for the Nurse Reinvestment Act, and even the reduced amount must still be approved in committee with the House.

The Nurse Reinvestment Act not only invests in nursing education, retention and career ladder support in addition to faculty loan cancellation programs and geriatric training for nurses but also funds public service announcements to advertise and promote the nursing profession and educate the public about the rewards of a nursing career.

Nursing leaders at the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) both applauded the Senate's actions, but the funding falls far short of what is needed. Debbie Campbell, Director of government affairs at AACN, said that the AACN was happy about this "place to start" because nurses have received a "line item" in the budget. She explained that a line item assures that nurses will have a more solid basis on which to lobby for money next year. Ms. Campbell noted that many programs that are passed into law never get funded at all. Still, $20 million is unlikely to have much impact in recruiting and training the 800,000 additional nurses ANA President Barbara Blakeney says will be needed by the year 2020. The $20 million allotted could pay for the education of about 400 nurses, leaving 799,600 nurses to go.

Send an AACN pre-written letter to your Congressional representatives about the Nurse Reinvestment Act in less than one minute--or to have a far bigger impact--write and send your own email letter at this same web site.