HHS invests $100M to boost nursing workforce
The Biden administration announced a $100 million investment aimed at expanding the nursing workforce through comprehensive training, addressing the pressing nurse shortage in the healthcare industry.
“Nurses are an essential part of our nation’s health care system,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in the press release. “Now more than ever, we need to double down on our investments in nurses who care for communities across the country.”
An estimated 100,000 nurses left their position over the past two years and over half a million intend to leave by 2027, according to recent data from the American Hospital Association (AHA). Many departing nurses cite burnout and stress, but the real crisis extends far beyond workplace demands.
Healthcare workforce demand has steadily increased as baby boomers reach old age, requiring more care, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Alongside that, baby boomers in the healthcare workforce are expected to retire, with more than one in five intending to leave their position over the next 5 years, leaving a gap in the nursing workforce that young people (under 35) do not want to fill, or are rapidly leaving, according to recent data from Health Affairs.
The infusion of $100 million aims to effectively bridge the divide between the burgeoning healthcare demands and the available nursing workforce.
Fostering a robust nursing workforce
The Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention-Pathway to Registered Nurse Program will receive $8.7 million to train licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses to become registered nurses through tuition assistance and social support, like child care assistance.
Funding of $34.8 million has been allocated via the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program with the aim of enhancing the training and readiness of primary care nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives through tuition assistance. These professionals will be equipped to deliver crucial primary care services, encompassing mental health and substance use disorder care, along with maternal health care.
The Advanced Nursing Education-Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Program, aimed at increasing the number of advanced practice nurses in primary care, will receive $30 million.
Address shortage of nursing faculty
The investment will also provide $26.5 million to 88 schools through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, an initiative designed to help schools bolster their nursing school faculty through incentives like loan cancellation and low-interest loans.
The program offers up to 85% loan cancellation of the original loan and accrued interest upon the successful completion of up to four years of full-time nurse faculty employment following graduation.
“Nurses are the frontline in delivering life-saving care and in keeping all of us healthy and well,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson in the release. “Today’s investments from the Health Resources and Services Administration demonstrate our ongoing commitment to supporting the nursing workforce, training and growing the next generation of nurses, creating career ladders for nurses, and recognizing the critical role nurses play in primary care, mental health care, and maternal health care”