Lawmakers introduce legislation to try and help solve nationwide shortage of nurses


DELMARVA- Step by step, leaders are taking action to solve challenges in the health care field. That includes the nationwide shortage of workers.

“Very recently there was actually a task force through the state of Maryland that that work marries nicely to what’s going on at the federal level on the workforce shortage; looking at the state of Maryland overall 1 in 4 nursing positions is vacant,” Dr. Kathryn Fiddler, Interim Chief Nursing Executive and Vice President of Population Health at TidalHealth, said.

To address this, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, as well as other lawmakers around the country, introduced the bipartisan bicameral National Nursing Workforce Center Act. “What this bill will first of all do will allow for the federal government to help support local centers,” Congresswoman Blunt Rochester said. “Right now, about 39 of the states have them, but smaller states like Delaware are challenged and so this bill number one allow for those centers to be across the country.”

We’re told the nursing workforce centers serve as hubs to advance education, practice, and workforce development. “We want to find those best practices, those things that are going to support nurses, help them to do the best that they can, and also provide the data for us as we plan for the future,” Congresswoman Blunt Rochester said.

Dr. Fiddler said having conversations around the nursing shortage is positive, especially if it can expand the workforce and remove hurdles to healthcare education.”It’s an amazing profession people want to get into it, but these newer nursing professionals if we don’t have all of the other areas, the education, and the quality, and the consistent support behind them it’s hard to even get new people even through the whole pipeline to be able to become nursing professionals,” Dr. Fiddler said.

“There’s a lot of barriers to healthcare education, whether it’s financial, whether it’s some of the classes that have to happen before you enter the nursing profession, whether it’s even the professor themselves,” Dr. Fiddler said. “We need to be able to look at new innovative models, partnerships in very different ways; and there are lots of regulatory constraints that are often barriers throughout every state, you know every state licenses nurses individually in a different way,” Dr. Fiddler said.
We’re told the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this national shortage of registered nurses making it critical for lawmakers to invest in all aspects of nursing.
An important component of all if this is also having complete, national, standardized data to understand where public policy can help alleviate nursing shortages.
Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland