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May 11, 2023

Schiff, Barragán, & Blunt Rochester Introduce Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act

Washington, D.C. — Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced the Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act with Reps. Nannette Barragán and Lisa Blunt Rochester. This legislation will provide grant funding through HHS to nursing schools so they can expand their capacity to train nurses by hiring more nursing faculty to teach. 

The U.S. healthcare system is experiencing a dangerous staffing crisis of Registered Nurses (RNs) that is expected to intensify in the coming years. This nurse staffing crisis is compounded by the significant shortage of nursing school teaching faculty and clinical preceptors across the country. The teaching faculty shortage limits the number of nursing students enrolled in programs, which ultimately limits the number of new RNs entering the workforce each year.

According to an AACN’s report, U.S. nursing schools turned away over 91,000 qualified applications from nursing programs in 2021 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints.

There are numerous factors that contribute to the ongoing shortage of nursing school faculty and clinical preceptors. A recent study examining nursing school faculty found that one third of the current nursing faculty workforce in baccalaureate and graduate programs are expected to retire by 2025. Additionally, the pay disparity between advanced practice nurses that work in a clinical setting versus those who work as teaching faculty in a nursing school is significant. 

To address the shortage of nursing school teaching faculty and clinical preceptors and help expand the nursing workforce, the Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act would:

  1. Establish a grant program under HHS to provide funding to nursing schools to support the retention and recruitment of teaching faculty and/or clinical preceptors.
  2. Prioritize funding for nursing schools in cities and states that experience the most severe faculty and preceptor shortages.
  3. Direct the HHS Secretary to collect information from grantees on the impact of the grant program, including data related to the recruitment and retention of faculty and preceptors and student enrollment rates at such programs.

“Our nation’s devastating staffing shortage of nurses is fueled by a lack of resources, faculty, and funding at nursing schools — forcing nursing programs to turn away tens of thousands of qualified students each year. With many current nurses on the cusp of retirement, this nursing workforce crisis will grow even more dire. To address this public health crisis and ensure our nursing workforce has the support they need and deserve, I am introducing a bill to provide significant funding for nursing schools to help expand their capacity, hire more nursing faculty, and graduate more nurses.” said Rep. Schiff.

"As our country has faced a dangerous shortage in our nursing workforce, I've focused my efforts in Congress on strengthening our nursing workforce pipelines and providing support to our nursing professionals," said Rep. Blunt Rochester. "The Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act is the latest effort to strengthen our nursing workforce by supporting the retention and recruitment of teaching faculty and clinical preceptors that will help train and teach the next generation of nurses. I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill and will continue working tirelessly to support our nursing professionals."

"As the sister of a nurse, I know how important nurses are to their patients, and how their knowledge, support, and advocacy are integral not only to the patient’s experience but also our country’s health care system,” said Rep. Barragán. “I am proud to join Representatives Schiff and Blunt Rochester to introduce the Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act, which will improve retention and recruitment of nursing school teaching faculty and clinical preceptors who are critical to educate the next generation of nurses. This bill addresses one of many issues causing the nationwide nurse shortage, while supporting our current nursing school faculty and clinical preceptors.

“As California continues to struggle with an unprecedented health care workforce shortage spurred by the pandemic, hospitals are grateful for U.S. Rep. Schiff’s leadership to invest in the next generation of nurses,” said Carmela Coyle, President & CEO of the California Hospital Association. “Building the pipeline of nurses is critically important to patient care and this legislation will generate meaningful progress toward a healthier California.”

“We have a staffing crisis in the United States, and we need the federal government to intervene now and address retention and burnout, and one important part of the solution is growing the workforce.  Rep. Schiff’s legislation can help thousands of qualified nursing applicants who are turned away due shortage of faculty, achieve their dreams of becoming a registered nurse,” said Charmaine Morales, RN, President, UNAC/UHCP.

“The shortage of faculty at nursing schools across the country is limiting student capacity at a time when the need for professional registered nurses continues to grow,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “Leaders in academic nursing applaud Rep. Adam Schiff for introducing the Support Faculty and Expand Access to Nursing School Act, which would provide much needed support to schools of nursing to enhance the supply of nursing faculty and preceptors.”

“Public health care systems continue to face extreme workforce challenges, which were exacerbated and compounded by the pandemic. This bill will help increase the pipeline of new nurses entering the healthcare field and is one of many policy solutions needed to address our workforce crisis,” said Erica B. Murray, President & CEO of California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.

The bill is supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME),  American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Organization for Nursing Leadership, United Nurses Associations of California/ Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP), California Hospital Association, and California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.