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AACN Applauds the Reintroduction of the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act in Congress

Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2024 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds the introduction of the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act (H.R.7266/S.3770) by our Senate Nursing Caucus Co-Chair, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and House Nursing Caucus Vice Co-Chair, and nurse, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14). This legislation calls for historic investments to address immediate nursing education needs, while providing proactive measures to meet future workforce demands.

“With an insufficient nursing workforce and ongoing healthcare challenges, now is the time to support our accredited schools of nursing, our faculty, and our students who will be future frontline providers,” said Dr. Cynthia McCurren, Chair of AACN’s Board of Directors. “I am proud to see Congress take action to support academic nursing and am grateful that Senator Merkley and Congresswoman Underwood have chosen to address this urgent need, which will help to ensure access to care for all Americans.”

“Nurses provide critically important care that keeps our families and communities healthy. As one of the few nurses serving in Congress, I’ve always been committed to advancing policies that strengthen our nursing workforce,” said Underwood. “By making an unprecedented $1 billion investment in schools of nursing, the FAAN Act would grow the nursing workforce and expand and diversify the pipeline of nurses in underserved and rural areas. I look forward to working with Senator Merkley to pass the FAAN Act and provide the investments we need to create a stronger health care system that addresses nursing shortages and meets the needs of our families and communities.”

“Nurses continue to find themselves on the front lines of our major public health battles, often times without the full support they need,” said Senator Merkley. “As the husband of a nurse, I know the sacrifices that are made to care for patients and to keep our medical centers up and running. We must do everything we can to support our nursing workforce, just as they support each and every one of us, and the FAAN Act is just one way we can help achieve this commitment by invigorating nursing education.”

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. To ensure an adequate supply of well-educated nurses, federal investments are needed to strengthen pathways into the profession. The FAAN Act would accomplish this by creating a grant program open to all schools of nursing. Special consideration will be given to supporting minority-serving institutions and schools located in medically underserved, rural, or health professional shortage areas. More specifically, grant funding could be used to:

  • Enroll and retain nursing students;

  • Hire and retain a diverse faculty to educate the future nursing workforce;

  • Support schools of nursing in partnership with healthcare facilities, to establish or expand clinical education;

  • Modernize educational infrastructure, including telehealth technologies and other needs;

  • Enhance and expand nursing programs that prepare nurse researchers and scientists;

  • Establish nurse-led intradisciplinary and interprofessional educational partnerships; and

  • Support other investments that the Secretary determines would further the development, improvement, and expansion of schools of nursing.

“AACN is deeply grateful that Senator Merkley and Congresswoman Underwood have reintroduced this vital legislation in the 118th Congress,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer. “A well-educated nursing workforce is essential to ensuring the health and well-being of all Americans. The FAAN Act will strengthen academic nursing and ensure the next generation of nurse leaders are available to meet the nation’s healthcare demands.” 

AACN looks forward to working with Congress to advance the FAAN Act this year and ensuring that schools of nursing have the vital resources needed to educate the nation’s nursing workforce. More information on AACN advocacy efforts can be found on our website for breaking news and the most up to date information.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the voice for academic nursing representing more than 865 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice. Learn more at aacnnursing.org.

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