PRESS RELEASE

Rep. Mike Capuano Introduces Legislation to Help Alleviate the Nursing Shortage

May 9, 2003 -- Today Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Rep. Ernie Fletcher, MD (R-KY) introduced the "Nurse Education Promotion Act" which provides grant money for two year nursing programs and continuing nursing education.

"Nurses constitute our nation's largest group of health care professionals. They serve in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, managed care facilities and community health centers and their work is invaluable. Unfortunately, there is an emerging labor shortage among this group of healthcare professionals. This legislation will make nursing more accessible to those who are interested in pursuing it as a career," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.

Major provisions of the legislation include:

According to the General Accounting Office, between 1993 and 1996, enrollments at two-year associate degree programs dropped 11%. Between 1995 and 1998, enrollment at 4 year bachelor's programs dropped 19%. As these numbers decline, the demand for nurses is increasing. The Congressional Research Service projects that the supply of nurses will fail to meet demand by 2010.

"By focusing on two year schools, this legislation helps get nurses into the field more quickly," stated Congressman Capuano.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support, was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208