Valley congressman to announce legislation to address nursing shortage

Government studies project the demand for registered nurses is expected to reach more than 3.6 million by 2030.

Dale Yurong Image
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Valley congressman to announce legislation to address nursing shortage
Congressman Jim Costa plans to announce legislation to address the country's nursing shortage.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Congressman Jim Costa announced legislation on Monday to address the country's nursing shortage.

Many healthcare workers, including nurses, cited burnout for leaving their careers.

Prior to the pandemic, Kaweah Health dealt with a 5% shortage of nurses.

Today, the vacancy rate has hit 20%.

"That gap is going to leave us in a lurch trying to deliver quality care in all of our settings," said Dr. Kerri Noeske, chief nursing officer at Kaweah Health.

Educating the next generation has been difficult.

School officials know how tough it can be to get into local nursing programs and say it is time to expand access.

"For all those people who tried for years to get into a nursing program at a community college or a state university or even a private university, please don't give up hope," said Carole Goldsmith, SCCD chancellor.

The US Department of Health and Human Services expects 3.6 million more registered nurses will be needed by 2030.

Congressman Jim Costa cited a survey that said 28% of nurses plan to leave the job within five years and has introduced the National Nursing Shortage Act.

"This legislation would require the US Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a national task force to deal with the nursing shortage," said Costa.

The news conference was preceded by a workshop where local healthcare officials talked about the challenge.

They say it will take a multi-pronged approach to bring more nurses to the healthcare system.

"It's a pipeline problem. It's an education problem. It's a hospital problem. It's all of those problems," said Lynne Ashbeck, senior vice president and chief community impact officer of Valley Children's Hospital.

Ashbeck commended Costa for what she called "the national lens that will bring us regional and local solutions.

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