Lobbying to Fight Healthcare Workforce Shortages
Dr. Speakman Visits Capitol Hill
Dr. Elizabeth Speakman visited Capitol Hill in May to lobby legislators about funding for health professions programs and nursing workforce development. Speakman, EdD, RN, CDE, ANEF, associate professor and assistant dean of RN to BSN programs at Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson School of Nursing, was in D.C. with other members of the Board of the National League of Nurses (NLN) to promote funding for Title VII and Title VIII programs. Both programs focus on resolving healthcare workforce shortages through funding for loans, scholarships and grants to enable more students to pursue health careers.
“It’s important for nurses to reach out to their legislators about these issues,” Speakman says. “Appropriate funding will help nurses and other healthcare professionals continue their education. That will enable more of them to become nurse educators which will enable nursing schools to prepare more nurses to meet the growing healthcare needs. This is a cycle and funding will start it off.”
While on Capitol Hill, Speakman and other NLN representatives asked for support of the Health Professions Programs through Title VII of the Public Health Service Act. These programs educate providers in interdisciplinary settings and aim to increase the number of minority and disadvantaged students in the healthcare field.
The NLN Board of Governors also asked for an increase in funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs which aim to increase funding to education, workforce diversity and retention of nurses. NLN teams emphasized the expected retirement of almost 50% of nurse educators by 2015, as well as nearly half of practicing nurses in the next decade.