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The Biden Administration announced new funding on Thursday to help grow and retain the nurse workforce.

“The $100 million dollars we are announcing today does three key things,” said Carole Johnson, administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): It helps to build a “career ladder” for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and vocational nurses who want to become registered nurses; targets bottlenecks in nursing by incentivizing more nurses to become faculty; and supports training for nurses to become primary care providers who can help to fill gaps in care for maternal health, mental health, and substance use disorders.

In 2022, nearly 80,000 qualified applications were rejected by nursing schools, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Johnson said. “And one of the reasons for that is a lack of faculty.”

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that in visiting with deans and faculty at nursing schools in different states, he consistently hears that the faculty shortage is one of the biggest obstacles to expanding the workforce.

Becerra noted that June Eastridge, MSN, RN, EdD, dean of the School of Nursing at Nevada State College in Henderson, had told him, “It’s tough to lure an experienced … licensed practitioner to teach because they lose so much income.”

The HHS Secretary and Eastridge spoke about how HRSA is targeting precisely that issue in establishing grants so that nurses aren’t having to give up their income to become instructors.

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