New Legislation Aims to Address Nursing Shortage in Hawaii and Nationwide

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Reauthorization of federal funding among primary goals

Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI), co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, spent last week announcing and clarifying her support for bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the current shortage of qualified nurses in her home state of Hawaii and across the United States.

The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 5052) directs Medicare-participating hospitals to develop nurse staffing plans that ensure an adequate number of nurses to meet patient needs and improve patient safety. Without adequate registered nurse staffing, patients are at higher risk for prolonged hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries and even death.

“Nurses are the driving force of our healthcare system, providing top-notch healthcare while ensuring patient safety and comfort,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Unfortunately, too many hospitals, especially in our rural and underserved communities, face a nursing shortage—putting patient lives and health at risk and driving up hospital costs. Adding nurses to hospital staffing plans would help to dramatically prevent hospital deaths, reduce infections and hospital readmissions, and save hospitals nearly $3 billion.

“Our bipartisan legislation will support and empower nurses in Hawaii and across the country to deliver quality healthcare for all.”

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Rob Senior
Rob Senior

Rob has 15 years of experience writing and editing for healthcare. He previously worked for ADVANCE from 2002 to 2012.

1 Comment

  1. Vickie Splain on

    On the article about a nursing shortage, you need to talk to nurses currently working, retired and those who left for another career. There are multiple reasons for this.
    First let me say there isn’t a true nursing shortage. I know of many, many new grads who can’t get a job. This has been going on for quite a few years. The reason, is because hospitals run their staffing at a bare bones minimum to save money. They make money by running things tight, too tight in my opinion. Nurses end up not getting breaks a lot of the time because of that. And in a 12.5 hour shift that’s hard especially when it happens a lot.
    Most hospitals have gotten rid of LVN’s, CNA’s, Ward Clerks or Unit Clerks, even no more runners to take blood samples to the labs. So who does all of theses jobs, the nurse!
    Because of being over worked nurses are leaving the profession for other careers, or retiring early. 50 percent of the nursing force right now is of retirement age. I am almost 62 and I can’t even count the number of nursing friends who have retired and many early because of working conditions. Conditions that are dangerous at times because they are being pushed so hard and so fast.
    The other end of the spectrum is it’s hard to get into a nursing school. They are always back logged. Many who want to go into the profession end up paying for private nursing schools just to get in and get their schooling done.
    But until the working conditions improve, the hospitals will continue to bleed out with nurses leaving.
    I loved my profession for 36 years. Absolutely loved caring for my NICU babies. But being forced to cross train to other areas and having many days of no breaks forced me to realize I was better off taking an early retirement.
    You really need to interview nurses to get the real story. No nurse currently working will tell you the truth for fear of loosing their job. Talk to retired nurses who no longer have that fear and you will get the real story.

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