Dr. Linda Aiken
Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
* Nationally recognized expert in the U.S. shortage of nurses and other health care professionals
* Co-chair of the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply
"Sen. Clinton's health plan is a welcome addition to the debate on how to provide health insurance coverage to the uninsured and improve access to affordable health care for all Americans. It is critical for Sen. Clinton and others advancing health-care reform proposals to be explicit about their plans to increase the nation's supply of nurses and physicians. Expanding insurance coverage to more than 47 million Americans is not enough to provide them with actual access to health services; more nurses and doctors will be required to ensure that access to care is possible. The shortage of nurses is expected to increase to close to 1 million within less than 15 years, but, because of capacity limitations in collegiate nursing schools, tens of thousands of qualified applicants for nursing programs are being turned away. The presidential candidates have not articulated how they will bolster the supply of nurses and doctors to provide the expansions in health insurance that they propose. All of the candidates should look carefully at Gov. Ed Rendell's Prescription for Pennsylvania that achieves improved health-care access at lower costs through workforce innovations including expanded access to nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists."