Like other aspects of social life, the health care industry is regulated by government legislation. Legislative acts influence the entire system of health care services operations and the practice of each medical professional. In this paper, the impact of the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 and the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 on nursing practice in general and doctorally prepared nurses specifically will be discussed.
Introducing the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 was a measure against the observed nurse shortage. The bill implies particular actions, such as:
- Promoting the nursing profession through public announcements;
- Providing scholarships in exchange to two years of nursing work;
- Awarding grants to nursing educational institutes and increasing enrollment in degree programs;
- Regulating nursing practice with particular care to underserved populations;
- Allowing nurses to participate in organizational decision making (H.R.3487).
The bill affects nursing practice as it increases the number of doctorally prepared nurses, recently graduated. The requirement of repayment for scholarship prevents the outflow of the labor force. It also affects doctorally prepared nurses specifically as it seems to improve their work engagement. Siller et al. (2016) argue that the practice of shared governance in health care organizations leads to increasing nurses’ autonomy and the ability to control their practice.
The Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 establishes the rules of employment of nonimmigrant registered nurses in US health care organizations. It prescribes that nonimmigrant nurses should have wages and conditions equal to other similarly employed nurses. It also sets the rules of certification for nonimmigrant nurses, requiring them to have a full foreign license, unless they are educated in the US. However, it “exempt certain nurses from foreign health care worker certification requirements” (H.R.441). Therefore, it affects nursing practice in general by involving foreign health care professionals in the US health care system. For foreign doctorally prepared nurses, it provides new possibilities. At the same time, the US nurses receive the opportunity to work in a culturally diverse team, which mostly has a positive impact on the practice.
In summary, the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002 and the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 influence nursing practice on micro and macro levels. Both of the bills are supposed to combat workforce shortage and improve nurses’ opportunities for education and work. Ultimately, they aim to increase the quantity of health care professionals, as well as the quality of services they provide.
H.R.3487 – 107th Congress (2001-2002): Nurse Reinvestment Act. Web.
H.R.441 – 106th Congress (1999-2000): Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999. Web.
Siller, J., Dolansky, M. A., Clavelle, J. T., & Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2016). Shared Governance and Work Engagement in Emergency Nurses. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 42(4), 325–330. Web.