LB 503 seeks to help add nurses to rural hospitals
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Nobody is immune to shortages it seems, and the same can be said about the nursing industry.
In a 2020 report, the Nebraska Center for Nursing reported being short over 4,000 nurses, but two or three years down the line, they also said the state could be short almost 5500 nurses by the year 2025. Those numbers add up to some troubling signs for rural Nebraska.
Grand Island senator Ray Aguilar is looking to aid the need with LB 503. The bill is seeking to adopt the Rural Nebraska Nursing Workforce Act which provides scholarship incentives for students enrolling in an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program, then to come and work for the rural hospitals in the state.
Senator Aguilar told Local4 Nebraska needs to be more proactive finding nurses to fill vacancies in hospitals.
“There’s a couple cities, Grand Island being on of them, that recently completed new hospitals, so those nurses aren’t out there growing on trees, we have to grown our own so to speak, and so it is very important that we get this set and try to get something accomplished to get more nurses available,” Sen. Aguilar said.
LB 503 went before committee on February 24, and Mary Lanning Nursing Director Carol Hamik spoke on behalf of the bill. Hamik said the need for a bill like 503 is greater than ever.
“When I got out of nursing school in 1990, there were three hospitals, we had one in each of the tri-cities,” Hamik said. “When you look at our demographics now, we have five facilities in the three cities. We’re working really hard to staff these areas, so there is a greater need for healthcare workers now then there’s ever been within the tri-cities.”
Hamik said she was called on by Creighton University because she was in the first satellite bachelor of science in nursing program the school had in Hastings.
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