Well before the trauma, stress, and burnout from COVID-19, the nursing profession was facing a national workforce shortage. Decision-makers and the advocacy community—including ONS—have had serious policy discussions on how to blunt the impact on the patient population, including promoting federal investments at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for more than a year. In August 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration responded, announcing a $100 million awards program to stem the tide.
“Nurses are the front line in delivering lifesaving care and in keeping all of us healthy and well,” HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said. “Today’s HRSA investments 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.”
The funding focuses on three key priorities:
- $8.7 million for the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality. and Retention—Pathway to RN Program that trains LPNs to become RNs
- $64.8 million to train nurses to deliver primary, mental, and maternal health care, divided between the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program and Advanced Nursing Education-Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Program
- $26.5 million through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program to provide low-interest loans and loan cancellation to incentivize careers in nursing school faculty and address bottlenecks in nurse training
In total, 262 institutions, colleges, and universities received awards from the 2023 funding.
“Nurses are an essential part of our nation’s healthcare system,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Now more than ever, we need to double down on our investments in nurses who care for communities across the country.”