Senators Kelly, Blackburn Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address National Nursing Shortage
The PRECEPT Nurses Act Would Address Nursing Instructor Shortage by Boosting Nursing School Enrollment and Facilitating Clinical Placements
Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Providing Real-World Education and Clinical Experience by Precepting Tomorrow’s (PRECEPT) Nurses Act, bipartisan legislation that would address the national nursing shortage by providing a $2,000 tax credit for nurses to serve as clinical preceptors to nursing students and new hires. Increasing the number of nurse preceptors will allow more students to receive required clinical training, ensuring new nurses enter the field prepared and on time.
“I hear from hospitals across Arizona struggling to find the nurses they need to care for their patients. Meanwhile, nursing students are struggling to gain the clinical experience required to enter the workforce, said Senator Kelly. “By incentivizing nurses to teach the next generation, we can immediately expand clinical opportunities and get new, well-trained nurses into hospitals where they are desperately needed.”
“Nurses are an essential part of our nation’s health care system,” said Senator Blackburn. “Amid staffing shortages and burnout among nurses, it is important that we incentivize more of them to help train the next generation. The PRECEPT Nurses Act will strengthen the nursing workforce pipeline and improve patients’ access to care.”
“The nursing shortage we are experiencing must be addressed. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system and without them patients and their families suffer. We must do more to support new nurses as they transition into the workforce and make this transition available to all who are pursuing nursing as a career,” said Heidi Sanborn, President, Arizona Nurses Association. “We are thankful to Senator Kelly and his team for their dedication to ensuring quality care for Arizonans.”
“The Arizona State Board of Nursing supports the PRECEPT Nurses Act, which will provide incentives for nurses to serve as preceptors in underserved communities. Arizona, as with the entire United States, is facing a nursing shortage and needs to further bridge the preceptor education for practice-ready nurses. Additionally, it is important to support experienced nurses and encourage them to share their knowledge and expertise. For all of these reasons, the Board believes this Act will benefit Arizona by providing mentorships for a healthy Arizona, and support both our new and experienced nurses,” said the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
“Addressing America’s nursing shortage requires action on multiple fronts and the kind of bi-partisan collaborative effort that is represented by the legislation proposed by Senators Kelly and Blackburn,” said Dr. Judith Karshmer, dean of Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “Access to clinical preceptors is the rate-limiting step for the preparation of nurse practitioners and a key component for preparing new nurses for the workforce. This tax credit will have direct impact and will go a long way to help motive healthcare providers to take on students and positively contribute to expanding the pipeline of well-trained, qualified nurses.”
“We are appreciative to Senator Kelly for introducing this important legislation. Arizona, like most of the nation, is experiencing a severe nursing shortage that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Kelly’s proposed legislation notes the importance of having experienced nurses to train the new recruits. This common-sense bill will incentivize nurse preceptors to help develop the next generation of healthcare champions in our workforce,” said Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.
“Academic nursing leaders have long recognized that one of the primary barriers to accepting more qualified students into nursing schools is an insufficient number of clinical preceptors,” said Dr. Cynthia McCurren, Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “The PRECEPT Nurses Act helps address this barrier and can ultimately expand the number of new nurses entering the workforce to provide care to patients in need.”
“We applaud Senators Mark Kelly and Marsha Blackburn for putting forth this bipartisan solution, which is an essential step forward to ensuring nursing students have access to the preceptors that are so vital to their education,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “As Congress looks at ways to support nursing, we hope they consider and advance the PRECEPT Nurses Act, which promises to build the nation’s supply of nurse educators.”
According to the American Nurses Foundation, 89 percent of nurses report staffing shortages. The U.S. is projected to face a shortage of 450,000 nurses by 2025. Despite the demand, nursing programs turned away more than 80,000 applicants due to insufficient faculty and supervisors, clinical and classroom training sites, and financial resources. Two-thirds of nursing programs specifically cite a lack of faculty and clinical preceptors as reasons for admitting fewer qualified applicants.
The PRECEPT Nurses Act addresses the preceptor bottleneck by creating a seven-year pilot program to provide a $2,000 tax credit for individuals who serve as a clinical preceptor to nursing students, nurses with less than six months of experience, or advanced practice nurse candidates in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
For full bill text, click here.