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Government Funding Helps Train More Nurses Amid Faculty Shortage

By Marcia Frellick and published by

COVID widened the growing gap between care needs and nursing staff across the nation. Now, many states are stepping in with beefed-up budgets and new programs to build faculty and clinical placements.

Interest in nursing isn't the problem. Nursing schools have had to turn away applicants because of the lack of clinical placement sites, faculty, preceptors, classroom space, and budget cuts, Robert Rosseter, chief communications officer for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), told Medscape Medical News.

Trying to help fill the pipeline, several states passed legislation in the last session to address the problem in public nursing schools.

Here's a sample:

  • New Mexico approved $15 million in grants for expanding nursing school enrollment and $30 million to endow nursing faculty positions.

  • Arizona earmarked $15 million for a nurse education pilot program to increase the number of nurse graduates by 2027. The new law also dedicates $27 million to a student nurse clinical rotation and a licensed or certified nurse training program to expand preceptor training programs.

  • Florida approved $100 million to provide incentives for nursing education and $25 million to help schools recruit faculty and clinical preceptors for nursing programs. The funds are matched dollar-to-dollar by healthcare partners in their community.

  • Indiana's new law, among other provisions, allows nursing schools to replace some clinical hours with simulation hours and allows 2-year programs to hire more part-time faculty.

Filling Empty Spots

In the 2021-2022 academic year, 8% of faculty jobs in 935 nursing programs were vacant, according to the AACN. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 200,000 openings for registered nurses (RNs) each year through 2031 when retirements and workforce exits are factored in.

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