NURSING SHORTAGE: House Approves Visas for Foreign RNs
To remedy nursing demand that is rapidly outstripping supply, the House passed a bill yesterday that would provide 500 temporary work visas to foreign nurses to work in acute care hospitals located primarily in "poor inner-city and rural areas," the AP/Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. A combination of increased demand, "low pay and hard working conditions," as well as college students' apparent disinterest in the profession, has accelerated the nursing shortage. Arkansas is in particularly dire straits, with 10% of nursing positions vacant. The bill, which would expire in four years, requires that foreign nurses be paid the same wages and work the same hours as their U.S. counterparts. Hospitals seeking foreign nurses must be located in an area "experiencing a shortage of health care professionals," prove that they have exhausted all efforts to hire domestic nurses, maintain at least 190 acute care beds and serve a certain percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients (5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.