What You Need to Know About the Train More Nurses Act

In 2021, over 91,000 qualified nursing applications were rejected from undergraduate and graduate nursing programs due to insufficient numbers of educators, clinical sites, classrooms, clinical preceptors, and budget.

With the average Registered Nurse age at 52 years old in 2020, the nursing shortage is expected to compound by 2030. After the pandemic, thousands of frontline nurses chose to leave the industry as well, leaving facilities who rely on these critical professionals reeling from the lack of available talent. Add the proposed staffing mandate into the mix and skilled nursing facilities across the country could cross into the red in their ledgers.

Recognizing this need, the Train More Nurses Act has been proposed into legislation. Read on to learn more about this proposed bill, along with how it will impact skilled nursing facilities if it were to be signed into law.

What is the Train More Nurses Act?

The Train More Nurses Act (S. 2853) is a bill that was introduced in late 2023 by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME). It is a bipartisan bill that was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 24, 2024 and is currently in the U.S. House of Representative for consideration. The bill has the explicit support of AHCA/NCAL as it will directly support endeavors to ease the nursing shortage that is hindering the long term care sector.

What is the goal of the Train More Nurses Act?

The intended goal is to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor to analyze and report on grant programs that have been created to support the nursing workforce. Basically, supporters of the bill want to review existing nursing grant programs for additional approaches to increase faculty at nursing schools with a particular focus on underserved areas. The bill also seeks to create supplementary pathways for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to further their careers by becoming Registered Nurses (RN).

How the Train More Nurses Act would impact long term care facilities

The requested report that the Train More Nurses Act would cover three primary areas of focus. If passed, the bill requires that the report include recommendations to make the following three outcomes reality, as these most directly impact nursing faculty levels.

Increased faculty at nursing schools

Overall, the bill wants to find ways to get more educators in schools in underserved communities. This influx of educators would allow more opportunities for students to enroll in nursing courses at once while increasing the number of graduates available for employment. 

With healthcare talent in such short supply, increasing the number of educators instructing courses should have a direct impact on the amount of nursing talent available in underserved communities to help long term care facilities in sourcing the talent they need for optimal patient outcomes.

Additional career pathing for experienced nurses to become educators

A secondary goal of this grant review bill is to create additional opportunities for experienced nurses to further their careers by becoming educators themselves. The premise is that by creating additional chances for nurses with relative experience to become educators, increasing the overall faculty at nursing schools would be made that much easier since there would be a wider pool of educator talent to recruit from.

Once again, long term care facilities would benefit from this change due to the increased number of healthcare professionals that emerge from these instructional courses. If you have more educators, you have more classes and more classes means more graduates trained to provide great patient care.

More opportunities for licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses

Finally, the third leg of this bill would require reviewers to provide supplementary career pathways for LPNs to become RNs. In a lot of ways, LPNs are very similar to RNs but they don’t have the same gravitas that the latter exudes. As another way to increase the population of potential educators, allowing for LPNs to achieve their RNs in other manners than the traditional way will help alleviate some of the strain that the nursing shortage has placed on healthcare organizations across the country.

For long term care facilities, the benefit here is that the LPNs they already employ can advance easier to RNs, allowing them to source talent internally for vacant RN positions. For rural communities or ones where healthcare talent is hard to find, this can really be a boon for hard to recruit positions that are facing fierce competition from other healthcare organizations.

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