A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Democrat Jacky Rosen of Nevada, has introduced a bill to address nursing shortages in underserved communities.
Rosen, along with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Braun of Indiana, introduced the Train More Nurses Act.
It would direct the secretaries of Health and Human Services and Labor to review nursing grant programs nationally and find ways to increase faculty at nursing schools, particularly in underserved areas, according to Rosen’s office.
Rosen’s office cited an August analysis by the trade publication NurseJournal that showed Nevada had 23,970 active registered nurses last year, or 7.54 per capita.
That tied Nevada for the 46th lowest ratio among the states, ahead of only New Mexico at 7.53, Idaho at 7.06 and Utah at 6.75.
“The shortage of nurses in Nevada is hurting families’ ability to get the care they need,” Rosen said in a statement. “Nevada families deserve to have access to reliable, quality medical care, which is why I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to tackle this shortage and help increase the number of nurses in our state.”
A December 2022 call to action from the Nevada Workforce Research Center at UNR found the state needs 4,000 more nurses to bring it to the national average.
Each of Nevada’s 17 counties face a shortage of medical professionals, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
“This proposed legislation takes significant steps to improve the quality and availability of nursing education while addressing workforce shortages, particularly in underserved areas,” UNLV President Keith Whitfield said in a statement.
“By conducting a comprehensive review of grant programs and recommending changes to support nurse faculty, create pathways for experienced nurses to become educators and promote the transition of licensed practical nurses to registered nurses, this act demonstrates a clear commitment to enhancing health care delivery and addressing the growing demand for skilled nursing professionals,” Whitfield said.
A bill introduced in the Nevada Assembly in February to enter Nevada into a multi-state nurse licensure compact, which proponents said would help cut burdensome red tape. The bill failed to pass the Commerce and Labor Committee, and no further action was taken.
President Joe Biden in October signed into law a bill sponsored by Rosen, Collins and Nevada U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, which allows community health centers to use federal funds to establish mobile health units to provide health services in rural and underserved communities.
Rosen has also introduced bills this year to expand medical residencies in areas with doctor shortages and to pause student loan repayments for medical and dental students serving in residencies or internships.
Those measures, both of which were introduced March 8, have yet to receive a committee hearing.