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Senators Hassan & Colleagues Introduce Bill to Address Nursing Shortages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) introduced a new bill to create a national graduate nursing education program to help increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses, who are an important part of our health system. The Educating Future Nurses Act would establish a permanent funding stream in Medicare for hospitals to partner with schools of nursing, community-based care settings, and other hospitals to increase clinical education for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse students.

“Nurses play a critical role in providing people the health care they need. This bill makes an important investment in future nurse leaders by creating permanent funding for graduate nursing education,” said Senator Stabenow. “The Graduate Nursing Education demonstration I authored in the Affordable Care Act is a proven success story, and taking this program nationwide will help more people get the care they need.”

“Nurses are the backbone of our health care system, which is why it’s critical that hospitals have the nursing workforce that they need provide high-quality care to their patients,” Senator Hassan said. “The Educating Future Nurses Act will help address the severe nursing shortage in New Hampshire and across the country, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this commonsense legislation.”

“As a registered nurse, I take our country’s nursing shortage seriously and I’m dedicated to finding solutions to alleviate it,” said Representative Underwood. “I’m proud to join Senator Stabenow and lead the Educating Future Nurses Act in the House to make the investments we need to expand the nursing workforce. By establishing a national graduate nurse education program that strengthens partnerships between hospitals and nursing schools, future Advanced Practice Registered Nurses will be able to receive additional training and practice options while they provide high-quality care to patients. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this legislation and grow the nursing workforce.”

The bill builds off of the successful Graduate Nursing Education demonstration that Senator Stabenow authored in the Affordable Care Act. The demonstration led to a 54% increase in Advanced Practice Registered Nurse enrollment and a 67% increase in graduation. Participants in the demonstration also noted improved systems and an increase in clinical placement staff.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing problems within the nursing profession including burnout and stress. More than 100,000 registered nurses left the workforce during the pandemic and nearly one-fifth are projected to leave by 2027. The Educating Future Nurses Act will help ensure reliable funding for the clinical education of advanced practice registered nurses to support the profession as a whole and increase patients’ access to primary care.

The Educating Future Nurses Act is supported by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the American Nurses Association.

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