Chairwoman Fargo, Chairman Sanchez, and members of the Committee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee today. I am here in support of H. 2086, An Act Creating a Nursing Advisory Board. This bill, if enacted, will advise the governor and the general court on matters related to the practice of nursing, including the shortage of nurses across the commonwealth in advanced practice nursing, long-term institutional care, acute care, community-based care, public health, school care, higher education in nursing, and other areas of nursing.
I drafted this legislation to create a forum for research and policy development related to the nursing profession. The Nursing Advisory Board that this bill proposes would consist of individuals with expertise in a range of health care settings including acute care, community-based care, long-term institutional care, and other areas of nursing. The Advisory Board would develop a research agenda and carry out the commission research. The Board would also seek outside funding sources to support its work. These responsibilities would help fill the gap in policy development on nursing issues and it would help highlight the needs of this profession, which plays such a critical role in our health care delivery system.
The membership of the Advisory Board that I have proposed would be initially screened by the Massachusetts Center for Nursing, Inc. The Nursing Advisory Board in my legislation would serve as a think tank that would produce research for long-range planning and policy development in the field of nursing. The Center for Nursing would include research, and an agenda that would encompass different aspects of nursing.
As a psychiatric nurse clinical specialist, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand how the field of nursing has developed over several years. I have worked in a variety of settings and with patients with a broad range of characteristics. Through my work as a nurse I have developed an appreciation for the necessity of long-range strategic planning based on reliable, scientific-based research, and data in order to support the nursing profession and maintain the quality of care in our region.
When I first conceived of this legislation, I convened a working group of nursing experts from a number of different areas including academia, hospital administration, long-term care, and other areas. The group formed a consensus that is embodied in H. 2086. We have attempted to create a forum for serious research where the views of all parties are taken into consideration and problems in the nursing profession are anticipated and addressed.
As you know, the nursing profession faces many challenges. The stability of our health care system depends on a vibrant nursing workforce. My bill, H. 2086 will help guide us and members of the administration as policy makers in our efforts to preserve the vitality of nursing in the Commonwealth.
Thank you for your consideration on this important matter. I respectfully request that the Committee adopt a favorable report for H. 2086 as expeditiously as possible.