Ensure an Educated and Adequate Nursing Workforce
Nurse Preceptor Incentive Program - (295 #3h (Hayes) | 295 #2s (Barker) Download this page here!
What would this budget amendment do?
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a nurse who has a master’s, post-master’s certificate, or practice-focused doctor of nursing practice degree in one of four specific roles. The four APRN roles currently defined in practice are: Nurse Practitioners (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Certified Nurse-midwives (CNM), and Certified Nurse Anesthetists (CNA).
Students are required to complete at least 500 clinical hours in order to graduate as an APRN. A clinical preceptorship is a supervised clinical experience which allows students to apply knowledge gained in the didactic portion of a program to clinical practice. In Virginia, an APRN preceptor may be a physician, physician’s assistant, or an APRN.
By providing relatively minor financial incentives for practitioners who serve as otherwise uncompensated preceptors for APRN students, we can increase access to care, address the primary care shortage, handle mental health crises, and manage chronic diseases. All of these factors are crucial in improving the health and wellness of all Virginians. The incentive would be available for uncompensated preceptors, including APRNs, physicians, and physicians’ assistants.
More Nurses Are Needed, But A Lack of Preceptors is Limiting Student Enrollment
- There are not enough healthcare providers to meet demand, and the deficit is expected to grow. The United States is facing a primary care shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for APRNs is expected to grow by 31 percent between 2016 and 2026.
- VNA surveyed nursing schools in the Commonwealth that offer APRN practitioner degree programs. Each of those programs are experiencing a shortage of preceptors for APRN students and they are being forced to limit enrollment of students based on the lack of available clinical preceptors. According to the schools surveyed, a total of 358 more APRN students could be enrolled annually if additional preceptors were available.
- By simply increasing the availability of preceptors, nursing schools can significantly increase enrollment of APRN students and address the provider shortage. Some proprietary schools are compensating preceptors, increasing the competition for a limited number of clinical opportunities, and making it more difficult for public schools to graduate nursing students.
- Additionally, increasing regulatory requirements and growing demand for their services is making it more difficult for practitioners to volunteer their time to educate students.
Virginia Schools are having More difficulty in obtaining and retaining preceptors. Some have had to decline due to the complexity of COVID- 19.
- Some Virginia schools had to administratively withdraw FNP students from clinical practicum courses during spring and summer sessions because they were unable to secure a reliable clinical placement for them. Preceptors may be willing but, the practice managers are blocking access. This means we are going to need more sites than usual during the next year if we expect to keep everyone close to an on-time graduation in 2021.
- Many NP students are practicing nurses taking care of current COVID patients. Some preceptors are hesitant to precept these NP students due to an added risk in their primary care practice. We need a larger pool of providers to meet our needs right now.
- Increased stress and burnout among providers, some have been furloughed, increased workloads for others. We are concerned that there will be more challenges this fall/Spring in securing preceptors.
- Some providers could not accept NP students or students needed to leave the practice due to COVID exposures (provider and/or student exposures).
- Given the unknown economic impact for all, nurses will be stressed to manage multiple demands. An incentive to keep teaching (in the role as preceptor) will help mitigate even in a small way, the impact of COVID 19 on our profession.
Other States Have Already Implemented Similar Programs
Several states have taken steps to address the problem by providing a tax benefit to preceptors. Beginning with Colorado in 2013, at least five states have implemented a similar program. Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Hawaii have also approved programs, and several other states are currently considering incentives for APRN preceptors.
1-4 Campaign for Action, “Hawaii Joins States Using Tax Laws to Support Nursing Education,” June 2018.