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Nonprofessional nurses needed at that time, 22,846; the supply on hand, 10,329, for a deficit of 12,517, or 54.8.
Since that time there has been a great increase in the demand for practical nurses in all fields of nursing.
The contributing factors for this need are many: The field of science, medicine, and nursing has progressed rapidly in the 10 years or more, and the demand for practical-nurse service has increased with this development.
The advancement of science in medicine has placed a greater demand upon the licensed physician, and, as a result, the registered nurse has had to assume greater responsibility.
Many of the technical duties which were once performed by the physician are now being performed by registered nurses, and thus the shortage of qualified personnel for less technical duties.
The training of practical nurses for this particular function has proved to be most satisfactory. However, the supply does not meet the demand and especially in the southern part of our State, where it is impossible to secure licensed practical nurses to care for even the chronically ill or aged.
The everchanging conditions in the preservation of the Nation's health today present us with new and bigger problems. Statistics will show that since 1900 the number of people aged 65 and over increased from 31/2 million to 111/2 million, and it is estimated that the figure will rise to approximately 1512 million by 1960.
The practical nurse, licensed by waiver, has met the requirements for licensure by virtue of experience in the field of practical nursing. However, it is vitally necessary that supplementary courses in these subjects be made available to these people to enable them to make a just contribution to nursing service.
Statistics of the survey made by the Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Illinois in November 1954 in the interest of the need for further education of our membership revealed many interesting facts.
It is a well-known fact that correspondence schools for practical nursing are very active in the State of Illinois, and that preparation for practical nursing through correspondence is not recognized.
The survey revealed that a great number of practical nurses, in tlieir eagerness for a practical nurse education, took courses by correspondence, paying a tuition from $159 to $269, only to find later that this type of education did not meet the requirements for licensure.
In spite of the many efforts of our association and other groups to protect women from exploitation, this situation exists.
It is our opinion that this situation would be defeated if our department of vocational education had sufficient funds to set up more schools for practical-nurse training: Women seeking this form of education would not be so apt to be exploited by correspondence schools.
The return of the survey forms to our membership was 71 percent.
The survey indicated that age groups for our practical nurse membership, on a percentage basis, were as follows: 18 to 35, 25 percent; 36 to 50, 31 percent; 51 to 65, 29 percent; 66 and over, 15 percent. The youngest practical nurse reporting was 18 years of age, and the eldest, 81 years of age.
Our licensed practical nurses are employed in hospitals for general and private duty, private duty in homes, various institutions, doctors' offices, industrial nursing, nursing homes, children's homes, by the public health, and several of them have nursing homes of their own.
Some of the academic education reported on the survey was as follows: 12 have a full 4 years of college; 32 have 2 years of college; 443 with 4 years of high-school education; 637 with 2 years of high-school education; 414 with 8 years of elementary school, and 6 who had no formal schooling at all.
The survey indicated requests for further education in nursing and nursing subjects as follows: General nursing, psychiatric nursing, surgical nursing, obstetrics, geriatrics, pediatrics, psyiotherapy, orthopedics, public health, materia medica.
In our summary we find the greatest percentage of practical nurses are in the age group 35 to 50, licensed by waiver, have at least 2 years of high-school education, employed in hospitals in general duty, and want further education in nursing and related subjects. We have a few with college degrees and a few working toward a college degree.
The Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Illinois recommends that practical nurses who are graduates of accredited programs, and practical nurses who are trained to teach, be permitted to teach practical nursing in order to supply additional instructors that will be needed in the expansion of the practical nurse training program.
The association further recommends that the need for accredited schools, as expressed in this statement, be given consideration by the committee in their deliberation on legislation which would provide better care to the sick and aged turoughout the Nation.
Chairman HILL. How many members do you have in your association?
Mrs. CORCORAN. Over 2,100.
Senator LEHMAN. How long have practical nurses been licensed in Illinois ?
Mrs. CORCORAN. We received our licensure in 1951, which was a permissive law, and as of 1953 that expired and we are now a 100 percent licensed organization.
Chairman Hill. Well, Mrs. Corcoran, it was awfully good of you to come here today, and we appreciate this fine testimony that you brought us. We are most grateful to you for that; thank you very,
Mrs. CORCORAN. Thank you. I am grateful to have had the privilege of being here.
I have a couple of letters here to substantiate my report that I can leave with the committee.
Chairman HILL. Good. You will leave those with the committee, will you?
Mrs. CORCORAN. I would be glad to.
(The documents referred to follow :)
ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF NURSING HOMES,
Washington, Ill., April 9, 1955. Mrs. JEAN D. CORCORAN, President, Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Illinois,
Chicago, Ill. DEAR MRS. CORCORAN : It is indeed gratifying to learn you are going to Washington, D. C., to testify to the need for accredited schools of practical nurse training.
We are interested in Senate bill No. 929, which will provide money to States for practical nurses training, as there is a definite need for qualified practical nurses in the State of Illinois since only a few schools in the State now are able to give such training, mostly because of financial reasons.
I feel that Senate bill No. 929 should be of vital interest to the general public of the entire United States. If there should be a national emergency declared, there would not be enough qualified personnel to give the skilled nursing care at such a crucial time. In many sections of the State of Illinois it is impossible to secure licensed practical nurses to care for even the aged and chronically ill. With best wishes for a most successful meeting in Washington, D. C., I am, Yours very truly,
FLORENCE L. BALTZ, R. N., President.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., April 6, 1955. Mrs. JEAN D. CORCORAN, President, Licensed Practical Nurses Association,
Chicago 39, III. DEAR MRS. CORCORAN : It is my understanding that you are going to Washington next week in the interest of legislation relating to practical nurse education.
As chairman of the State advisory committee for practical nurse education, I would like to emphasize the many nursing needs in our State, and especially in southern Illinois. As you know, efforts have been made to interest boards of education in setting up schools for practical nurses. These schools have limited funds and up to this time there have been no schools for practical nurses in that part of the State. There is a great need for additional funds to assist schools, especially in the way of equipment, etc.
I sincerely hope that legislation may be enacted whereby funds could be allocated to States for this important program. Sincerely yours,
MAUDE B. CARSON, R. N., Chairman, State Advisory Committee on Practical Nurse Training. Chairman Hill. Mrs. S. C. Patterson, South Georgia Trade and Vocational School, Americus, Ga.
It is nice to have you here, Mrs. Patterson. We will be delighted to have you proceed in your own way.
STATEMENT OF MRS. S. C. PATTERSON, STATE DEPARTMENT OF
Mrs. PATTERSON. Thank you, sir. I am Mrs. S. C. Patterson, public relations consultant, vocational department, State Department of Education, Georgia, and a member of the State advisory committee on practical nurse education in that State.
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate very much the opportunity of appearing before this committee and making a statement in support of legislation, now pending, which will provide "aid to the States in the fields of practical nursing and auxiliary hospital personnel services."
Much emphasis has been placed this morning on the urgent and immediate need of an expanded and improved program of health service for our people throughout the Nation. It has further been pointed up that individual States cannot provide an adequate program for their people without Federal assistance.
Georgia's story is no different from the rest-only we would de- ! scribe our needs and our problems as “more acute," since we are predominantly a rural State. Rural areas always suffer greatest from a shortage of trained personnel in any field-and the nursing profession is no exception.
I would like to depart, Mr. Chairman, from the printed page, and say to you that my interest in this program does not stem from the fact that I am an employee of the vocational department.
My interest in this program began when I served as county school superintendent in one of the rural counties of Georgia for 20 years; I saw the need and the suffering there for this program.
The Georgia training program for practical nurses began in the spring of 1953. While it is very limited, and we are still more or less in the experimental stage, our people are convinced that most of our problems could be solved by an expanded program of practical-nurse education.
To date, we have only three approved schools under vocational education for training practical nurses. We have 10 vocational training centers, located strategically over the State. Our very great need now is to be able to establish and maintain practical-nurse training in each of the 10 centers. We are stymied in our program by the old, persistent problem of lack of funds on the State and local level.
To date, we have graduated from our approved schools approximately 100 young women. During this same period of time, more than 5,000 were licensed under the Waiver Act, many of whom had practically no training or experience.
This creates a serious health problem unless some training can be provided through the vocational adult education program, which would upgrade these persons to meet the minimum standards which should pertain to all those who are working in the field of practical nursing.
Among the other problems that would be solved in our State by securing additional funds are: 1. Staffing the Hill-Burton hospitals with trained nurses.
You know we have spent a good bit of money down in our State on these hospitals, and we point to these structures with a great deal of pride. But when we look inside, we find that they are not staffed with trained people. Some of them have been opened only partially, and one hospital in a rural county in Georgia has not been able to operate at all because it could not secure nurses, trained or untrained.
Second, it would provide trained nurses for the care of the subacutely and chronically ill; third, it would provide trained personnel for the convalescent; fourth, it would take care of the rapidly increasing number desiring hospital care as a result of hospitalization insurance; and fifth, it would help solve the needs of business and industrial establishments for trained personnel in their health service departments.
The scope of this program, both in need and service provided, justifies Federal aid to the States. Therefore, we ask that you support and lend your influence to the passage of this legislation.
The practical-nurse training program under the direction of the vocational education department merits everyone's interest. The need is recognized and pointed up. The program is recognized by professional groups of nurses, hospital administrators, and doctors, as well as the public in general.
What is needed now is stabilization. Nothing can stabilize the program more than Federal aid. The effects of Federal aid in the development of vocational education programs cannot be denied. It not only stimulates local and State interest and participation, but it adds much prestige also.
Georgia owes its industrial and agricultural growth today, which is phenomenal, to vocational education.
If vocational education is given funds now for the promotion and development of the health teams, it will be another major contribution to our national security.
That concludes my statement.
Chairman Hill. Mrs. Patterson, you brought us a splendid statement that frankly answered the questions I had in mind. Coming from Georgia, sister State to Alabama, and being, as you say, a rural State very much like Alabama, one of those States being what we would speak of
as relatively low-income States, you have answered the very questions I have had. You brought us an excellent statement.
Mrs. PATTERSON. Thank you very much, Senator Hill.
Senator LEHMAN. There was one thing I wanted to ask Mrs. Patterson. I was very glad you emphasized, Mrs. Patterson, the particular needs of the rural sections as compared to urban sections. We have that same problem in my own State, although I am sure that it is not as urgent as in predominantly rural States such as yours and many others.
Have you any figures to show the percentage of trained nurses that are available in your rural sections as compared to your urban centers like Atlanta?
Mrs. PATTERSON. I am sorry, I do not have that information available. I do know this: That the rural areas send girls to the professional training centers, and they never come back. Many of our hospitals in south Georgia, particularly, operate with only one trained professional nurse. I believe that I have been told that about 85 percent of the practical nurses will remain in the areas where they train. If we could expand the program in Georgia, this would certainly mean that we would be assured of trained nursing services.
Chairman Hill. And if this program were expanded, you think there would be no trouble whatever in getting fine young women to go into the work of practical nursing ?
Mrs. PATTERSON. No, sir; I do not think so. We have observed this, Senator: That the recruits for practical nursing do not like to go so far away from home, and that is the reason I said that if we had 10 centers of training rather than 3, we could take care of our people, but otherwise we cannot.
Senator LEHMAN. Did I understand you correctly, I am sure I did, that there is a shortage of graduate nurses as well as a shortage of practical nurses?
Mrs. PATTERSON. Oh, yes. That is quite true, Senator.