Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2019 - The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the introduction of the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 by House Nursing Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); House Nursing Caucus Vice Co-Chairs, Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rodney Davis (R-IL); and Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), David McKinley (R-WV), and Lauren Underwood (D-IL).

Keeping America healthy demands continued investment in the nursing workforce, including those that provide direct patient care and the faculty who educate them. With four million registered nurses nationwide, support for these Title VIII programs is critical to creating, maintaining, and promoting high-quality patient-centered care across settings, including in rural and underserved areas. For more than five decades, Title VIII has been essential in bolstering nursing education, recruitment, retention, and faculty preparation. This legislation would reauthorize the Nursing Workforce Development Programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act) through Fiscal Year 2024 and align them with current trends in the profession.

"As the proud husband of a nurse and co-chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, I know that nurses are truly the backbone of our nation's healthcare system," said Rep. Dave Joyce. "I'm proud to re-introduce this bipartisan legislation to address our nation's pending nursing shortage and ensure those who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing have access to the high-quality education and training opportunities necessary to do so."

"AACN commends the bipartisan efforts of our champions in the House to advance this vital legislation," said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of AACN's Board of Directors. "As a recipient of Title VIII funding myself, I recognize how powerful these programs are in shaping future nurses and in providing educational opportunities to ensure exceptional nursing care."

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus, said: "Too often, nurses are unsung heroes who provide lifesaving care to our communities in the most trying and stressful times. As our country faces an aging population, an increase in chronic diseases, an ever-worsening opioid epidemic, and so much more, our healthcare workers must have the training and support needed to care for our people. Our bipartisan legislation will help ensure that nurses in Hawai'i and across the country have the education, training, and support they need to continue their service."

This legislation is a long-term investment that will help academic nursing leaders to meet the healthcare challenges of today and in the future. "For many of our member schools, these programs serve as a lifeline by attracting new nurses and faculty into the profession," said AACN President and CEO Deborah Trautman. "AACN is delighted to work with our Congressional champions to see the successful passage of this legislation in the 116th Congress."

AACN believes that workforce development and the creation of evidence-based research to transform care delivery is paramount to meeting America's healthcare needs. The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 propels the profession forward and elevates the impact that nursing has on improving the health of the nation.

AACN joins the Nursing Community, a coalition of 61 national nursing organizations, in support of this legislation. This legislation has a clear goal – establishing funding opportunities for the future generations of nurses. For more information on the Title VIII programs, AACN advocacy work, and our policy statements, see AACN's Policy and Advocacy web page.