Talking Points and Discussion Questions for Meetings with Elected Officials
The overall goals for these meetings are to:
1) provide an overview of AACN;
2) discuss the nursing shortage as a public policy issue
3) provide the groundwork for AACN to be a resource
These talking points are designed to be top-line recommendations for a meeting regarding
the nursing shortage, but the information discussed at each meeting should address
issues most relevant to the particular elected official.
- Given your interest in nursing and/or workforce issues, we are here today to provide
you with an overview of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
and to see how we might serve as a resource to you in the future.
- We would specifically like to discuss the nursing shortage and the impact that it
has on critical care nurses, patient care, and the quality of health care services.
Nursing Shortage Overview
- Why There is a Nursing Shortage:
- Supply and Demand - declining enrollment in nursing schools and the aging of the
nursing workforce will decrease the pool of registered nurses with a critical shortage
starting in 2010 when today's nurses start to retire while the overall demand is
predicted to increase.
- Retention and Workplace Issues - the physical and emotional demands of the environment
are created by increasing workloads, decreased staffing ratios and mandatory overtime,
which are contributing to increased turnover and nurses leaving the profession.
Nurses report feeling undervalued, overworked and underpaid.
- Recruitment and the Image of Nursing - the image of nursing has changed over the
last decade from a field that offered many opportunities to one that is viewed as
uncertain and often dangerous. Women have more career opportunities and many students
view the job as having unsatisfactory working conditions and low salaries compared
to other professions. Many nurses would not recommend nursing as a career choice.
- Implications of a Nursing Shortage:
- Registered nurses are essential in ensuring access to and quality of care. The developing
nursing shortage poses a significant threat to society's most vulnerable populations
and has adverse implications for the quality of health care.
- When the ratio of nurses to patients is too low, patient care is at risk. For patients
that could mean waiting longer for a nurse's intervention, being exposed to medical
errors or traveling to hospitals farther away from home for acute care.
- Strategies to Increase the Supply of Nurses:
- AACN believes that priorities for addressing the workplace issues and promoting
retention should include:
- Establishing restrictions on mandatory overtime
- Passing legislation
- Requiring healthcare facilities to establish patient acuity systems
- Developing collaborative care environments
- AACN believes that priorities to increase the supply of Registered Nurses should
- Increasing allocation of resources and public funding on both the national and local
levels for nursing programs
- Greater forgiveness for student loans and financial incentives for those who teach
- Establishment of grants for nursing scholarships and training programs, specifically
in the specialty areas
- Recruitment strategies aimed at promoting diversity in the workplace
- AACN believes that priorities to improve the image of nursing and promote recruitment
- Advertising and promoting the nursing profession
- Educating youth about nursing career opportunities
- Promoting the value of certification and competency validation
What AACN Is Doing
- AACN is advocating for increased nursing educating funding by joining other nursing
organizations to develop and present a legislative agenda to address funding for
nursing education and loan forgiveness programs
- AACN is supporting the Nurse Reinvestment Act
- AACN is working with other major nursing and health care organizations as a member
and/or advisor for coalitions to address the shortage
- Other Activities to Address the Shortage (ECCO, Value of Nursing Initiative, etc.)
- What are you and/or your committee doing to address the nursing shortage?
- What are you and/or your committee's plans for 2004?
- How can AACN be of assistance to you?