| Dear Colleague,
We do it each year, and each year I promise myself I will wear more comfortable shoes. I am referring of course to our annual Day on the Hill, when members of the NLN Board of Governors and our president Dr. Marsha Adams, our Public Policy Committee, led by chair Dr. Joan Frey, and some of our staff undertake the arduous but invigorating task of bringing our concerns and ideas to our representatives on Capitol Hill. As we are now headquartered in Washington, this year it was a bit like visiting neighbors across the way. But, as always, our concerns about public policy are very serious, with grave implications for the public's health and the future of nursing education.
I will give you a brief summary of our Day on the Hill and our specific concerns for 2014. As always, I encourage you to visit our public policy page to learn more about the NLN Public Policy Agenda. There is a link on the site to our Government Affairs Action Center, which will help you and your students communicate with Washington. Plus, there is a link to the NLN Public Policy Advocacy Toolkit, a very helpful teaching resource.
Our concerns and ideas for the Day on the Hill focused on funding for FY 2015 for four specific areas: 1) the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for returning war veterans, 2) Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs, 3) the Health Professions Programs under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act, and 4) Nurse-Managed Health Clinics (NMHC).
The issue of SAMHSA funding is very serious. States and communities in recent years have cut funding for mental health and substance abuse care, just as military personnel are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, many with at least one mental or psychosocial disorder. We are all alarmed by the suicide rate among veterans, and the fact that suicide is the leading cause of death for female veterans. As you know, the NLN has taken the lead in educating students about issues confronting veterans with the creation of ACE/V, Advancing Care Excellence for Veterans, and I have written about our involvement with Joining Forces on several occasions. But getting Congress to allocate the necessary funds is another story, and we must all advocate for what is truly a moral imperative.
Equally essential is funding for Nursing Workforce Development Programs through Title VIII. The NLN supports a budget of $251 million for these initiatives. With upcoming RN retirements amidst today's nursing shortage, it is expected that our nation will need 1.13 million new RNs by 2022. Plus, there will be a need for 35 percent more faculty members to meet the demand for nurses.
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We support an FY 2015 budget of $280 million for Health Professions Programs through Title VII. Our recommendation is in line with the Institute of Medicine's call for Congress to "invest in programs with proven effectiveness." And we support a budget of $20 million for nurse-managed health clinics. As you know, a shortage of primary care providers exists that will continue to grow, and the increased use of advanced practice nursing, in both primary care and specialty areas, is the best way to improve access to care while reducing costs for high-value care. The time for NMHCs is now!
By the way, I was saddened and appalled by the decision of Nebraska's governor to veto bipartisan legislation that would have increased access to advanced practice nurses for Nebraskans. This is unacceptable for the health of our country, with far-reaching implications.
Back to our Congress. Please read the May 2014 issue of the NLN Nursing Education Policy Newsletter for more details about our Day on the Hill. And join our advocacy efforts by contacting your own representatives in Congress.
Now, a few words about Nurses Week. Today is the final day of this celebratory week and the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale in 1820. I could not be more proud of being a nurse than I am today, especially as we see how nurses are taking the lead in advocating for a greater role, here in the United States and around the world. I am privileged to work with the extraordinary nurses who form our membership and the NLN Board of Governors, especially our president Dr. Marsha Adams, and with the brilliant, dedicated leaders of many other nursing organizations. Then there are those who educated and mentored me. Were you able to watch my Nurses Week message posted on the NLN social media accounts? In case you missed it, you can view the clip at http://youtu.be/g1Q9gmifRAk. In it I pay tribute to the wonderful Dr. Hattie Bessent, who has had a profound influence on my life and my career.
Then, too, there are the nurses I have the honor to work with every day at the NLN, the nurse members of our professional staff: Virginia Adams, Janice Brewington, Linda Christenson, Tish Hess, Susan Forneris, Carrie O'Reilly, Larry Simmons, and Elaine Tagliareni. Judith Halstead will be joining us soon, as executive director of accreditation, and Nancy Scroggs has recently joined us as the first scholar-in-residence of the NLN/Chamberlain College of Nursing Center for the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education. What a wonderful group. These individuals have dedicated themselves to the NLN mission and exemplify our core values of excellence, diversity, integrity, and caring.
We can all help ensure that nurses are recognized for the vital role we play in the delivery of health care in the United States by voting in Modern Healthcare's annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare competition. There are a number of nurses on the ballot, and we all have five votes. The deadline to vote is June 13, but be sure to cast your ballot today in recognition of Nurses Week.
Finally, before I can say Happy Nurses Week, colleagues, I must congratulate the Vermont Organization of Nurse Leaders, which is about to issue a statement supporting the President's initiative in sending support to Nigeria to find our kidnapped children: more than 200 girls who were trying to obtain an education. The world is our family and these are our children. The NLN will be joining our Vermont colleagues in this effort.
Now I can say Happy, Happy Nurses Week.
All best wishes,
Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chief Executive Officer