WASHINGTON, DE - Senator Joe Biden, Senator Tom Carper, and Congressman Mike Castle announced today that Delaware will receive over $200,000 in federal funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to address the urgent nursing shortage and its implications on patient care. "We are facing a medical meltdown. This funding represents an important first step toward remedying the shortfall of trained nurses in Delaware and elsewhere that has jeopardized our ability to provide topnotch medical care," said Biden. "Specifically, these grants will help increase the number of Delaware nurses with advanced training and will enhance the training of Delaware nursing students in the care of elderly patients, both of which are vitally important goals." "Delawareans deserve quality nursing care provided by well-trained staff. This grant makes more help possible and more education available to these critical care providers," said Carper, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. "As baby boomers get older and the nation's aging population increases, the nursing shortage grows as a concern." "Nurses play an integral role in treating millions of patients and their families each year. Unfortunately, as the demand for trained nurses increases, we are experiencing a nursing shortage in Delaware and the rest of the nation," said Castle. "Research has demonstrated that the amount of nursing care a patient receives can greatly affect his or her medical outcome. We need to address this situation so that it does not in any way effect the delivery of top notch patient care." Studies show that the demand for nursing services is growing faster than the number of trained nurses, placing an increasing strain on the nation's health care system. The U.S. Department of Labor recently projected that, unless remedial steps are taken, the U.S. will face a shortage of 450,000 nurses just seven years from now. To help turn this situation around, the federal government is emphasizing a variety of methods and incentives to attract more individuals into the nursing profession. For example, the Senate passed legislation a few months ago to establish a National Nurse Service Corps Scholarship Program, under which prospective nurses would receive financial assistance for their nursing education in exchange for service in areas with critical shortages. A similar bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and negotiations are underway to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. Three Delaware organizations received Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship grants to help support registered nurses who are in graduate programs to become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse educators, nurse administrators, and public health nurses: Wesley College ($45,344), Wilmington College ($89,845), and University of Delaware ($40,650). Additionally, the University of Delaware received a $25,000 Geriatric Nursing Knowledge and Experiences in Long Term Care Facilities grant to provide hands-on training for nursing students in geriatric nursing (the care of the elderly).