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Dean of University of Maryland School of Nursing To Participate in Town Hall on Health Care at the White House

June 24, 2009

dean-allan-crossedBaltimore, Md. — University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN, will be among the 120 participants posing questions to President Obama at a town hall meeting on health care at the White House tonight. “Questions to the President: Prescription for America” will be broadcast on ABC at 10 p.m. ET as a special edition of “Primetime,” moderated by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer.

“It is a tremendous honor and a tremendous opportunity to raise the awareness of both Pres. Obama and the American public to one of the fundamental challenges to achieving high-quality, low-cost health care: insufficient educational capacity in our nursing schools,” said Dr. Allan.

Nurses are the single largest group of health care professionals and are critical to realizing the new mandate of disease prevention, a central precept of the nursing model of health care. Moreover, as physicians have progressively moved out of the primary care arena in favor of more lucrative specialties, nurse practitioners have stepped in to fill the gap.

Yet thousands of prospective students eager to enter the nursing profession are turned away from colleges and universities each year because there are not enough teachers to educate them. Nursing educators must have advanced degrees, usually doctorates, which means more years of schooling and more college debt. What they get in return are longer hours and lower salaries than their colleagues in clinical practice.

“We are facing rising demand for health care services from a rapidly aging population of baby boomers, and at the same time the nation is wisely shifting its focus to prevention rather than cure. This creates increased pressure on the nurse workforce, which in turn heightens the demand for educators,” said Dr. Allan. “We cannot safeguard the long-term health of the U.S. population, nor stop health care costs from devouring our economy unless we make a significant investment in nursing education.”

The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked seventh nationally. Enrolling more than 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment