States look to overseas nurses
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021: “Our caregivers are exhausted. They’re fatigued physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” Tom VanOsdol, president and CEO of Florida health system Ascension Florida, testified before a panel of Sunshine State legislators this week.
- VanOsdol and other hospital administrators were in Tallahassee to brief lawmakers on the state of the state’s nursing shortage. It was, they said, an “emergency.”
- Neil Finkler, the chief clinical officer of AdventHealth Orlando, said the shortage was “really one of the great existential threats to our ability to continue to deliver healthcare.”
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Please apply your own mask before assisting others: The severity and persistence of America’s nursing shortage have naturally triggered a labor competition among states.
- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan this week announced the state would grant licensure reciprocity to out-of-state registered nurses to make it easier for out-of-state clinicians to relocate and render care. The state’s education commission secretary is advocating that nursing students wrap their studies prematurely to support bedside staffing.
Others, though, are looking overseas.
- New York Governor Cathy Hochul said the state was looking to recruit qualified foreign nurses to backfill its shortage. “This is something we have to work with the Department of State on first,” the governor said. “This is a conversation we have already been having to talk about the opportunity we might have in freeing up the visa system.”
- The CEO of Michigan’s Henry Ford Health, which recently closed beds over an inability to staff them, said the system is working to hire hundreds of nurses from the Philippines.
Of course, absent corrective action by the Department of State to address a historic backlog of green card processing for foreign healthcare workers, those nurses won’t be coming any time soon.
- According to an American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment survey, more than 5,000 overseas nurses with sterling clinical records are waiting on embassies and consulates to schedule processing interviews, the final procedural hurdle before these clinicians emigrate. These nurses have job offers at overburdened American hospitals and have passed English language and licensure tests. They’ve completed every step in a years-long visa process. They’re only waiting on bureaucrats to schedule one single interview.
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Quote of the week: “Imagine the worst day you have ever had at work then add human suffering, death, personal risk and repeat it every day for 18 months. This is what nurses are going through,” said Virginia nurse Ashley Apple.