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AACN Applauds Senator Richard Durbin for Introducing the Troops to Nurse Teachers Act of 2008
Date:3/6/2008

Partnerships between the military and civilian schools of nursing would help address the severe nurse faculty shortage and increase the nation's supply of registered nurses

WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauded Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) for introducing the Troops to Nurse Teachers (TNT) Act of 2008 (S. 2705). At a time when the military and civilian healthcare systems have been crippled by an acute nursing shortage, the need for innovation solutions, like the TNT program, are essential to increasing the number of educators who will prepare the next generation of registered nurses.

"Our schools of nursing are struggling to increase student capacity in the face of a severe nurse faculty shortage. The TNT program would offer nursing schools a great incentive to partner with the military to overcome this obstacle," said AACN President Jeanette Lancaster. "AACN is committed to working with Senator Durbin and Congress to see this important piece of legislation passed."

The military faces the same difficulty in recruiting and retaining nurses as civilian healthcare facilities. Neither the Army nor the Air Force has met its active service nurse recruitment goals since the 1990s. In 2006, the Air Force, Army, and Navy experienced overall nurse vacancy rates of 15 percent, 8 percent, and 9.6 percent, respectively. In order to address the current shortage, all branches of the military are offering incentives to encourage nurses to join the Armed Services.

However, the fundamental problem of the nursing shortage is that civilian schools of nursing, where the military recruits, do not have the faculty necessary to educate an adequate number of nurses. According to AACN's 2006-2007 annual survey, U.S. nursing schools turned away 42,866 qualified applicants to baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. Almost three quarters of the schools responding to
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SOURCE American Association of Colleges of Nursing
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