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nursing shortage

55 Solutions to the Nursing Shortage Crisis

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate held a hearing to examine health care workforce shortages and solutions.

For the past 5 years, I’ve asked every nurse, nurse educator, and physician I meet about their thoughts on the nursing shortage crisis.

I’ve studied every article, podcast and blog post I can find on the subject.

I’ve documented all of the proposed solutions I’ve heard thus far.

Here’s what I have so far.  What am I missing?  What are your favorite solutions?

  • Pay nurses more
  • Financial support for students entering nursing programs (discounted or free tuition)
  • Safe Staffing mandates, legislated
  • Fast-tracking nursing education
  • Improve working conditions
  • Hire travel nurses (also cited as one of the causes of the shortage)
  • Allow nursing programs to hire qualified instructors who are not full-time employees.
  • Align nursing school with real world through hybrid lecture programs with more clinical time in person
  • Integrate more clinicals throughout school, not just at the end
  • Pay floor techs more
  • Nurse Licensure Compact: increases access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level. Under the NLC, nurses can practice in other NLC states, without having to obtain additional licenses.
  • Hire foreign nurses (AMN (O Grady Peyton), Aya, and Avant)
  • More funding to nursing schools
  • Increase nursing instructor pay
  • Require bachelor’s to become an RN and an associate’s degree to become an LPN.
  • Diploma nursing
  • Increase nursing school enrollment
  • Increase the use of non-acute facilities for practical training
  • Industry partnerships: Health systems provide tuition, pay for books, and living stipend for students
  • Streamline and Speed Up Nurse Licensure Exam Process
  • State Board of Nursing no longer needs to review and approve applications before students can take the board nurse licensure exam.
  • Establish grant programs to recruit and train health care workers
  • Enrollment increases
  • Expansion of classroom, lab and simulation space, as well as student support services.
  • Faculty and staff recruitment and education
  • Create a one-year mentoring program to help first-time educators transition to the classroom
  • Creating an innovative and affordable way to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing
  • Seamless opportunities for nurses with associate degrees to complete their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) on community college campuses.  Community colleges partner with a four-year college or university and design a BSN completion program with input from local employers and local workforce development agencies.
  • Increase access and affordability of Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs for students who completed their Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Help students get their RN degrees, send them to 4-year to receive BSN or MSN degrees, then retain them to either work at local healthcare facilities or to teach nursing.
  • Fund a “Success Coach” to help students at both schools persevere through the challenging nursing curriculum and make it to graduation
  • Public universities work with the state’s group faculties to make four-year nursing diploma training obtainable away from the ivory tower of their universities.
  • Prospective nurses would have the ability to earn a bachelor’s in nursing at 28 group faculty campuses with cooperation from native employers and workforce improvement companies.
  • Provide grants to college students that accomplished an affiliate in nursing diploma.
  • Apprenticeship programs: college students are paid to take part within the classroom three days every week and within the hospitals two days every week.
  • Boosting benefits and propping up their own internal staffing agencies to keep nurses in house
  • Hospitals bolster partnerships with academic institutions to better strengthen their pipelines in the years to come.
  • Extending opportunities to high school students, recruiting students to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or qualify for other healthcare careers before graduating high school.
  • Partnering with businesses to employ students, so they can complete their required certification hours
  • Investment in virtual reality technology to simulate clinical training
  • Using simulation-based training will help train nursing students who fill the frontline provider and educator roles needed to reduce the nursing shortage.
  • Adding high fidelity simulators
  • Allow for more healthcare simulations to replace some of those clinical hours, which would let more learners in nursing schools get more out working in the field.
  • Offering new incentives to recruit and retain nurses.
  • Mentorship program for nurses so they feel more supported
  • Incentives like sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement and stock purchasing plan to help recruit and retain new nursing staff.
  • Ending mandatory overtime policies and offering retention bonuses.
  • incentivizing long-term-care facilities to take more patients ready to be discharged from the hospital and establishing more nursing home beds.
  • Four-week certified nursing assistant program.
  • Externship program for students interested in long-term care, sending them into nursing homes and other facilities to give them a taste of a non-hospital environment.
  • Invest in nursing education
  • Expand program capacity by increasing clinical training opportunities and partnerships, investing in innovative education resources, and encouraging and incentivizing more nurses to become faculty.
  • Ensure students are prepared for nursing school and the workforce by helping them gain acceptance to nursing school, pass licensure exams, and apply their skills.
  • Using lifelike robots called high-fidelity patient simulators. They create medical emergencies and train students for situations where they might not get a second chance.
  • Open child care centers at hospitals

What am I missing?  What are your favorite solutions?  

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