The Impact of Nurse Training Funds on the Supply of Nurses

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The number of nurses per capita in the United States increased over 100 percent during the period 1972–1983, owing largely to funds made available through the Nurse Training Act (NTA). Due to federal and state donor fatigue, from 1984–2003 nurses per capita only increased 79 percent. We studied the subsidy effect of the NTA by type of program (baccalaureate, associate, and diploma) and by type of school (public and private) using a fixed-effects analysis-of-covariance model that pooled time-series cross-sectional data from 537 schools over the three decades 1974–2003. We found that the estimated impact of the federal funds ranged from $39,600 to $48,900 per nurse educated. We discuss whether this marginal price per additional nurse trained is a “good buy” as a government program in the context of other current nurse labor market issues.

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