How Will the Affordable Care Act Impact Nurses?

The Affordable Care Act, which went into full effect earlier this year, was introduced to provide all Americans with affordable health insurance and lower the burden of health care costs on individuals.  The act was designed to provide preventative care to alleviate the need for long-term care.  However, the act has also had a big impact on the healthcare system, particularly the nursing field.  The ACA has already shown its promise of a broader and more important role for nurses through the following ways.


A major goal of the ACA is the strengthening of the healthcare workforce.  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted the creation of 581,500 RN jobs by 2018.  To meet this demand the ACA has a greater support of nursing education in three distinct ways:

  • Advance Practice Nurses Scholarship: The budget for the scholarship and loan program of the National Health Service Corps will be increased by $1.5 billion over the next five years. The Corps scholarship program covers tuition, some fees, and costs for students enrolled in a graduate nursing program. The stipend paid to advance practice was $1,289 a month during the 2011-12 school year. After graduation, scholarship recipients are then required to work for up to four years as a primary care provider in an area of greatest need.
  • Registered Nurses Scholarship: Under the ACA, RNs are eligible for a scholarship that covers tuition, fees, and a monthly RNs can receive this scholarship for each year they agree to work full-time after graduation at a facility with a shortage of nurses. The RN loan repayment program will pay 60 percent of their student loans in exchange for two years of service at a designated facility.
  • Nurse Training: The ACA also provides numerous grant programs aimed at improving, promoting training, and retention of nurses.

Model Reform

Under the ACA, the model of the healthcare system is changing for nurses.  The idea behind medical homes for the chronically ill is based out of the law’s push to cut costs by moving health care out of hospitals and into communities.  The policy will make outpatient care more attractive for insurance providers, thus moving more nurses outside of the hospital.

More Diverse Opportunities

Key components of the ACA include financial incentives for primary care providers to treat Medicare patients.  In the past, many primary care physicians have dropped patients once they turned 65 since insurance reimbursement for these patients was low.  However, with more money in the pool to care for older patients, the ACA will create a demand for geriatric nurses.  Other nursing specialties are also expected to emerge from clinical performance measures.

In the field of nursing, the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives in regards to the Affordable Care Act.  Job security, job creation, and a growing need for nurses due to a greater number of patients are just a few of the advantages nurses have seen from the ACA.

Looking for a New Career in the Nursing Field?

Let the experienced team at BOS Medical Staffing help fast track your job search.   We guide job seekers through every step of the hiring process, from application to offer, and help them access the hidden job market – the jobs that never get posted.  We never rush candidates into a job, and we’ll work together until we find just the right match.  Contact us today to get started.


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