Tester Secures Funding to Address Montana’s Nursing Shortage

Senator Announces $700,000 to Recruit and Train Nurses in Big Sky Country

(U.S. Senate) – Following #NationalNursesWeek, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced a nearly $700,000 investment to address Montana’s nursing shortage.

This announcement follows Tester’s statewide health care tour, when he sat down with nurses, doctors and patients to hear directly about the state’s most pressing health care needs. Montana currently has a shortage of at least 800 nurses.

The grant will be awarded to Montana State University to recruit and train nursing students to practice within the full scope of their licenses, allowing them to act as primary care providers.

“Montana’s frontier communities are hit hard by nurse shortages,”
Tester said. “This funding helps build a pipeline of nurses to serve in rural areas so whether your kid has the flu or you need some stitches, you can get fixed up without driving hundreds of miles.”

The grant comes just a month after Tester urged congressional leadership to draft a budget that prioritizes health care funding for underserved and rural areas.

“An investment in our nursing workforce today is a commitment to America’s health care now and into the future,” Tester wrote in his funding request.

Tester secured this grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of its Nursing Workforce Development initiative to better train and recruit nurses for entry level through advanced practice.

“In the next decades healthcare will be delivered using new models, especially in rural and underserved communities, including our Native American communities and the many small towns of Montana. These new models will use nurses to the full scope of their license as a critical part of community-based primary care teams that will increase access to care, as well as prevent and manage chronic diseases including mental health and substance use such as opioids,” said Sarah Shannon, Dean of the Montana State University College of Nursing. “We want to extend a huge thank you to Senator Tester for being a strong proponent for the health of Montanans and the education of health professionals for Montana. He is watching out for our collective future by helping to secure this funding.”

Tester has championed legislation to bring more medical professionals to rural Montana.

Tester is sponsoring the Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act to extend funding for multiple nurse training programs and give educators the resources they need to provide scholarships to nursing students, hire more instructors, and thereby train more nurses.

Tester was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for this year’s government funding bill, which increased resources for nursing workforce development by $20 million.