U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) on Sept. 14 unveiled a bipartisan, bicameral bill to boost local nursing workforces and help improve the recruitment and retention of nurses.
“Nurses play a crucial role in providing accessible, high-quality care to Americans,” Sen. Tillis said. “Resolving existing nursing workforce challenges — which have been compounded by the pandemic, the increased demand for health care services, and the aging workforce — requires innovative approaches that support and strengthen every aspect of the nursing workforce pipeline.”
The National Nursing Workforce Center Act, H.R. 8817/S. 4844, would create a three-year pilot program to enable state nursing workforce centers to ramp up personnel, and to better evaluate the recruitment of nurses, as well as factors contributing to nurse retention opportunities for nursing workforce public-private partnerships, according to a one-page bill summary provided by the lawmakers.
“Our nurses went above and beyond to care for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now suffering from burnout, exhaustion and unsustainable schedules due to the nursing workforce shortage,” said Rep. Kim, who cosponsored H.R. 8817 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). “Nurses play a vital role in protecting public health and deserve our full support.”
If enacted, the measure specifically would establish the pilot program through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support state-based nursing workforce centers, and allow the HRSA to establish Health Workforce Research Centers on any program under the Public Health Service Act, according to the bill summary.
Additionally, the measure would direct the HRSA to focus on nursing issues by establishing a nursing-focused research and technical assistance center under the Health Workforce Research Center Program, the summary says.
Sen. Tillis, who cosponsored S. 4844 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), added that the bill “will enhance collaboration and coordination, enabling state and local experts to identify and address unique challenges to increase the resiliency of the nursing workforce.”
“The National Nursing Workforce Center Act will take important, targeted steps to help stabilize and strengthen our nursing workforce,” said Rep. Kim. “I am proud to work with Rep. Blunt Rochester and Senators Tillis and Merkley on this bipartisan, bicameral effort and will always stand with our heroes in nursing and the patients they support.”
The bill is supported by the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.