Buried down in hospital and medical news articles across mainstream media are significant concerns of nursing shortages across America.
Nurses and other healthcare professionals have left the profession due to various reasons, including:
🔹Hospital administration incompetence, dishonesty and lack of support
🔹Mixed messages and mandates from federal government entities such as CDC, FDA, NIH; state and local officials regarding instructions, lockdowns, mask requirements, etc.
🔹Job-related stress: working multiple shifts, extended hours, extreme workloads
A report from McKinsey found 32 percent of Registered Nurses surveyed in November 2021 indicated they would likely leave their current role soon, up from 22 percent in February 2021.
Hospitals and health systems across the nation are scurrying to fill workforce gaps, but amid shortages, new nurses are waiting months for licenses from states so they can begin treating patients.
Several large states have refused to join an interstate agreement that allows nurses to use licenses across state lines (much like a driver’s license lets you drive across borders). One reason is that nursing boards make most of their money, sometimes tens of millions of dollars, from licensing fees.
An NPR analysis of licensing records from 32 states looked at nursing board records for more than 226,000 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses issued new, permanent licenses last year.
Overall, 1 in 10 nurses who received new licenses from nursing boards in 2021 waited six months or longer, researchers found. More than one-third of the nurses waited at least three months.
“[Nurses are] emotionally exhausted. They’re physically exhausted. We add to that the frustration of not being able to get your license,” Betsy Snook, BSN, RN, who is CEO of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, told NPR. “Your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather are not going to get the level of care that they should have if staffing were appropriate.”
“Nursing boards, meant as a safeguard, have become an obstacle, preventing qualified nurses from getting into the workforce for months when basic vetting should take only weeks,” NPR reported.
The NPR analysis comes as hospitals are facing staffing shortages and rising labor costs as they vie for talent. It’s a concern the American Hospital Association has urged Congress to address, calling workforce challenges facing hospitals a national emergency.
Although departures are contributing to staffing shortages, backlogged license applications, which may stem from misplaced files, communication issues between states and other factors, can exacerbate the issue, according to NPR.
The media organization reports that some states issue temporary licenses at an additional cost so nurses can begin working while their permanent license application is processed, but many nurses do not try to get a temporary license. Meanwhile, the Nurse Licensure Compact allows more flexibility for nurses to practice in states that are part of the compact. Not all states take part in the agreement, however.
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