Senate Committee Approves Nursing Shortage Bill
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday approved a measure to "combat" the nation's nursing shortage, National Journal News Service reports. The Nursing Employment and Educational Development Act (S 721), sponsored by Sens. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), would create scholarships for nursing students; establish a nurse recruitment campaign; offer grants to nursing schools to "expand area health education centers"; devise a "career-ladder program" that would "encourage" those enrolled in nursing programs to seek additional training; and create programs promoting the nursing profession. Citing a recent American Nurses Association survey, HELP Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) noted that 75% of nurses said that "the quality of nursing care at their facility has declined, and more than half said their time with patients has decreased." Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said S 721 and a similar bill (S 1597) the committee previously approved should be "melded together" before the full Senate considers them (Rich, National Journal News Service, 11/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.