In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Nurse Training Act of 1964 into law. The act provided immediate assistance to everyone in the nursing field, including potential nurses and schools specializing in nursing. The act also appropriated funds of $300 million for nursing education, with $35 million designated specifically for collegiate training.
The Effect of the Act
According to the book “Foundations of Nursing,” the act helped revive interest in nursing and instituted higher standards for nursing schools and colleges with nursing curriculums. As a result of the act, students interested in nursing were received grants to attend qualified schools. This led to increased demand of nursing programs and resulted in many new nursing graduate schools, including doctoral nursing programs.
According to the book “Strategic Analysis for Hospital Management,” historically, hospitals have underutilized nurses because of budgeting problems. Hospitals, in general, prefer to spend money on doctors and newer equipment rather than on qualified nurses. This results in nurses primarily hired to manage assistive personnel. The assistive personnel then performs nurse job functions without the nursing qualifications. The complexity of modern medicine requires nurses qualified to manage patients with special needs. Congress passed the Nurse Training Act of 1964 in an attempt to provide adequate staffing for all hospitals.
Historically, males dominated the nursing field. It was not until Florence Nightingale that people started to accept women as nurses. Nursing training was very limited. Only a handful of qualified nursing schools existed, including Nightingale’s Training School for Nurses, established in 1860. Training for nurses eventually moved to hospitals, where upon completion of a nursing program nurses performed mostly nonmedical tasks in the hospital. It was not until the 1940s that nurses received specialized training in all areas of medicine.
Today nursing has become a highly specialized and skilled field. Many of the advancements in the nursing filed are a direct result of educational opportunities made available through the Nurse Training Act of 1964. The field of medicine continues to grow more complex, and specialized nurses are in high demand. Because of this act, there are now more schools in more states than ever before.