Report: Out-of-State Nurses Key to Rural OR Health
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
A new report found Oregon's health care system is vulnerable to shortages if trends change in the field of nursing.
The Oregon Center for Nursing compared people in the profession who are licensed through examinations versus those who receive endorsements. Nurses licensed by exam typically are from within the state, whereas nurses with endorsed licenses come from out-of-state. The number of endorsed nurses has risen significantly in recent years.
Jana Bitton, executive director of the Oregon Center for Nursing, said the trend will have to continue to support some parts of the state's health care system.
"If there are endorsing nurses who don't migrate into the state at the same rate that they have been migrating in before, that means that there is going to be an increase in shortages in some of those areas that are in our rural parts of the state, and also places that are outside of a hospital," Bitton explained.
Bitton pointed out the analysis used data from before the pandemic, and it is not yet clear how COVID-19 has affected these trends. She noted a nursing shortage would mean longer waits to access care and delaying or canceling elective surgeries.
Bitton added it is important to find ways to encourage out-of-state nurses to stay in Oregon.
"That involves having communities working together in partnership with their governments, with their hospitals, with their schools and just everyone in the community to band together, work collaboratively," Bitton urged. "To make sure that we have the nursing workforce and the health care system that we need."
She emphasized increasing access to education is something her organization has worked on, and stressed the state and communities need to ensure there are enough faculty at nursing schools, as well as enough training and learning opportunities to accommodate students.
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