Obama Praises Nurses in June Speech

    • June 23, 2010

President Barack Obama announced new funding for nurse education programs and nurse-led health centers in a June 16 speech to the American Nurses Association (ANA).

“America’s nurses are the beating heart of our medical system,” he said, adding later: “My task as president—our task as a people—is to ensure that our health care system is worthy of your efforts.”

Obama addressed the ANA’s House of Delegates. More than 1,000 ANA nurse delegates and registered nurses were in attendance.

In the speech, he announced new money to train nurse practitioners and spur the growth of health care centers led by registered nurses and nurse practitioners. “We want to speed up the process where folks go from the classroom to the exam room,” the president said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius detailed the $250 million investment in the primary care workforce , announcing that the administration will provide $30 million to train an additional 600 nurse practitioners and help part-time nursing students study on a full-time basis.

Another $15 million is set aside to establish 10 new nurse-managed health clinics, and $5 million will go to states to plan and implement innovative strategies to expand their primary care workforce by up to 25 percent over the next decade.

The funding was authorized by the health reform law passed earlier this year.

In his earlier speech, President Obama lauded nurses for doing “difficult and lifesaving work” and expressed gratitude to the nurses who helped his wife deliver two girls, and helped his then-infant daughter recover from neonatal meningitis.

“It was nurses who walked us through what was happening and who, along with the doctors, helped make sure that Sasha was all right and that her father did not have a breakdown,” he said. “As a father, as a husband, I will forever be in debt to the women and men of your profession.”