Trump Budget Will Have A Negative Effect On Nursing
By Harriet Feldman
On the heels of the announcement of President Trump’s proposed federal budget, the public is beginning to visualize what the world may look like after the Trump administration is through with it. Those of us in the health care industry are concerned for the future health of an already aging and ailing population.
At the College of Health Professions at Pace University in New York, we prepare future health care professionals to enter the workforce. Reacting to President Trump's proposed budget, nurses everywhere expressed alarm at the negative impact that the budget will likely have on the nursing workforce, nursing research, and the nation's access to high-quality nursing care. I echo their concerns.
Their concern is in response to the budget’s near elimination of funding for programs that help educate aspiring nurses and nurse educators. For more than 50 years, Health Resources and Services Administration's Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs have improved access and quality of health care in under-served communities. This funding strengthens educational programs, faculty recruitment and retention, clinical lab enhancements, loans, scholarships, and services that assist students in completing their nursing education. Many students have benefited from workforce funding over the years, including myself in pursuit of baccalaureate and master’s degrees in nursing. Because of this support, I have given back a hundred fold over nearly 50 years of clinical practice and higher education, as have many of my colleagues.
Eliminating $146 million in Title VIII nursing program funding seems in direct opposition to the President's stated goal of increasing access and reducing costs. Private and state funding will not be sufficient to meet current and future nursing and nurse educator demands. Nurses are critical contributors to a healthy population. Without sufficient providers, who will address the growing health care needs of our nation?
A research team of leading nursing workforce experts found in a recent study that a higher proportion of qualified nurses was associated with a significantly lower risk of death. Nurses also were found to contribute to higher levels of patient satisfaction and fewer instances of poor quality care, such as bedsores, falls, and infections. In addition, every 10 percent increase in qualified nurses was linked with an 11 percent drop in the odds of death after surgery.
As leaders in the health care professions, my colleagues and I look at health holistically. Healthy individuals have access to housing, nutritious food, health care services, and education, and live in a sustainable, non-toxic environment. They are people of all ages, some greatly dependent on our social system and government services to survive.
The proposed plan sends a clear message about the priorities of this administration. Clearly, the focus is not on domestic programs in science, research, health care and social welfare programs, which are strong determinants of the health of the nation’s people. Without these programs, we cannot continue to provide innovative and life-saving care to patients, educate them on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and encourage them to pursue careers in health care.
The damage from this life threatening budget cut will be far-reaching and will be very difficult to undo when a new administration takes the helm in a few years. And, our partners across the world will have witnessed a very dark period in United States history. Colin Powell got it right when he said, "America is great when we're the country that the world admires, a beacon of hope, and a principled people who are generous, fair, and caring," in his New York Times editorial, May 25.
I applaud Mr. Powell but I also think an important central point was not addressed in his editorial, that of vision, something sorely lacking in the current administration. Vision should be the guide to how our dollars are allocated and spent in our efforts to make America “great again.” The heart of this country is its people and if the country’s people are sick, uneducated and unable to work, the entire economy begins to collapse.
These budget cuts would be catastrophic to the health of America’s citizens. If the proposed budget passes, how long will it take to put the pieces of a broken system back together? The United States of America needs a solid plan with clear and inclusive vision that provides for the future health and well-being of its citizens.
Articles in this issue:
- Nurse Assisted Suicide, Without Drugs
- Pediatric Nurses Miss Care Due To Poor Work Environment
- You're Having A Heart Attack, What Does The ER Know About You?
- How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Actually Need?
- 1 Million Names, Socials, Health Records Stolen At WSU Health- From Hard Drive In Rented Locker
- Trump Budget Will Have A Negative Effect On Nursing
- He Went Into Surgery To Remove His Right Testicle, When He Woke Up, His Left One Was Missing
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