The United States has one of the most advanced systems across the world. However, it is riddled with numerous gaps such as a constant increase in medical costs, in-access to healthcare coverage by the majority of Americans, and others. The field of nursing is one of the areas in the U.S health sector that faces numerous challenges. Therefore, the United States Congress has played a major role in formulating numerous nursing-related legislative bills such as H.R. 728: Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 to help address some of the issues that nurses face across the country.
Provisions of the Legislative Bill
Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 is one of the numerous legislative bills that the U.S Congress has formulated to address the needs of nurses across the country. The legislative bill outlines various provisions to address the needs of nurses. Its bill number is H.R. 728. H.R. 728 is a national legislative bill that reauthorizes that nurses should be offered nursing scholarships; loans should be provided for nursing faculty development; nurses should be offered grants to advance their nursing education; grants should be provided for increasing nursing workforce diversity (“Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019,” n.d.). Besides, the bill requires that grants for a nursing career ought to be expanded to ensure they promote career advancement for individuals who have become registered nurses or advanced registered nurses and provide support for internship programs that help to mentor and develop nurses in various specialties. Furthermore, H.R. 728 outlines that clinical nurse leaders ought to be recognized as individuals who are capable to improve patient outcomes through conducting clinical research (“Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019,” n.d.). Besides, the legislative bill pushes for the need of registered nurses to be allowed to offer a full range of care services. The bill also revises the requirements for evaluation of a nursing program and the aspects used to determine an individual’s eligibility to access loans or grants.
In-depth Understanding of The Legislative Bill
H.R 728 addresses various nursing-related issues such as education, roles and responsibilities, and eligibility for loans and grants. As outlined in the provisions, the bill outlines that nursing students ought to be supported through the provision of grants and loans. This is to help nursing students to further their nursing education. Besides, the bill supports nursing education by outlining that grants and loans should be provided to the nursing sector and related programs that focus on mentoring and the development of nurses. Furthermore, the bill outlines some of the roles that clinical nurse leaders and registered nurses should be allowed to assume within various health settings. H.R 728 outlines that clinical nurse leaders should be allowed to conduct clinical nursing research to help improve clinical outcomes, while the bill requires that registered nurses should be allowed to practice a full range of care, rather than being limited to a particular area of work. The bill also outlines that every individual who has the desire to pursue nursing is eligible to access loans and grants at the federal level.
H.R 728 is associated with an interesting historical background. The bill was introduced to the United States Congress on January 23, 2019, by David Joyce (“Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019,” n.d.). Joyce introduced the bill to ensure that some of the challenges that nurses faced in the field of nursing could be effectively addressed. Ohio’s representative introduced H.R. 728 to Congress after a similar bill (H.R. 959) had not been passed at the Senate. H.R. 728 was debated by a select committee that held a hearing on July 11, 2019 (Sapio, 2019). On July 17, 2019, the select committee voted and issued a report recommending that H.R. 728 should be considered for further debate (Sapio, 2019). A House Committee on Energy and Commerce debated the bill and issued a report on September 24, 2019 (Sapio, 2019). The report provided an explanatory background of the issues addressed by the bill and its intentions. Congress passed the bill on October 28, 2019, and pushed it to the Senate (Sapio, 2019). The bill has not yet been passed at the Senate, and that is the issue that is stalling its signing into law and implementation.
Supporters and Non-Supporters of the Legislative Bill
H.R. 728 has had numerous supporters and non-supporters. The legislative bill has bipartisan supporters in the Congress, Senate, and outside the two legislative houses. One of the legislators that have championed for the bill to be passed and signed into law is David Joyce who introduced it to Congress. David Joyce argued that the bill would help to address various challenges that nurses experienced in the field of nursing. Additional stakeholders who have championed for H.R. 728 to be passed and implemented include the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and the American Nurses Association (ANA). ONS and ANA penned letters to the Congress and Senate asking the legislators to support and vote for the bill as it would be of great importance to the United States nursing sector (Stone, 2020). The two associations stated that if the bill is passed and implemented, it would help to provide the much-needed funds to increase and build clinical capacity within rural America; increase diversity and the number of caring people interested in entering the nursing profession; support the registered nurses seeking to advance their nursing education and new caregivers looking to enter the profession (ANA, 2019). Despite the support, the bill has also been met with strong opposition from a section of legislators both from the Congress and Senate claiming that the implementation of the bill would be a burden to the American taxpayers.
Bill’s Influence on a Nurse’s Ability or Practice
If the bill is passed, it will influence nursing practice by providing financial support. The bill will be a major source of funding for the field of nursing. In turn, it will enable nursing students to access grants to further their education. As a result, nurses will be able to improve their nursing skills and clinical outcomes will also be positively influenced in the long run.
Specific Actions That Nurses Can Take to Assist the Passage of the Bill
The action that nurses can take to assist the passage of the bill is to share the extreme urgency of implementation of Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 with their legislators. In the process, nurses can outline to the legislators how the implementation of the bill can be of benefit to them. Some of the benefits nurses can outline are such as the improvement in health care delivery in rural areas that the bill will bring along and funding of educational programs and institutions that mentor and develop nurses.
The United States Congress has constantly played a major role in transforming various areas of the country’s health sector. One of the areas that have been riddled with numerous gaps and the Congress has put its attention to is the field of nursing. Congress has passed various legislative bills such as H.R. 728: Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 to help address the issues nurses experience in the field of nursing. H.R. 728 awaits to be passed in the U.S Senate and signed into law by the president. If signed into law, H.R. 728 will address numerous issues that affect nurses within the field of nursing such as in-access to loans and grants to further their education.
ANA. (2019, June 20). Nurses and other stakeholders head to the Hill to advocate. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/news/news-releases/2019-news-releases/nurses-and-other-stakeholders-head-to-the-hill-to-advocate/
Sapio, M. (2019). AANP Forum. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 15(8). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2019.08.004
Stone, A. (2020, April 09). Title VIII Nursing Workforce Funding Included in CARES Act. Retrieved from https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/title-viii-nursing-workforce-funding-included-in-cares-act
Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 728). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr728