House bill

Bill targets Indiana nursing shortage

The schools forming the next batch of nurses are running out of what is needed every year by about 1,350 graduates.

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers in Indiana are trying to alleviate the severe shortage of nurses in our state.

A bill that is now heading for a full vote in the House aims to increase the number of nurses entering the workforce by creating more flexibility in how they are trained.

As the battle against COVID continues, healthcare heroes on the front lines are in dire need of a new squad. Indiana’s nursing shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic, is now a crisis.

“We have a workforce of approximately 9,000 nurses at all of our care sites across the state. We are looking for approximately 1,500 more to join our team,” said Jason Gilbert, executive vice president and chief nursing officer of ‘IU Health.

One of the problems, however – the schools forming the next group of workers are running out of what is needed every year by around 1,350 graduates.

Schools like Ivy Tech Community College say they need relaxed state regulations to get more nursing students into the pipeline and onto the job. Right now they’re actually turning down students.

“Every year in this state, hundreds of qualified applicants who wish to become nurses are turned down because of these limitations,” Gilbert said.

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“This year we had 1,700 places for nurses in our program. We had to turn away over 300 students who wanted to enroll in the program, who were qualified for the program, but we had no room, ”said Ivy Tech Vice. President of Public Affairs Mary Jane Michalak. “We don’t have enough professors to teach the sections and we don’t have enough clinical places to place students”

Bill 1003 aims to address this problem by removing current barriers and adding flexibility to which schools can hire and how students are trained.

Representative Ethan Manning, R-District 23, sponsored the bill, which was passed unanimously in committee on Wednesday. He now goes to the Plenary Assembly for a vote.

“We are enabling our nursing programs to grow faster,” Manning explained. “Right now they’re limited to 25% growth in a single year. We let them grow at any time they see fit to try to have more nurses in our workforce. So what we’re doing is really trying to address some of the bottlenecks in the system. “

The bill would allow schools like Ivy Tech to increase enrollment, hire more part-time teachers (state regulations currently limit the number of adjunct teachers in favor of more teachers). full-time) and allow students to do more simulations for clinics.

“Simulation is like practice, but it uses high-tech equipment,” Michalak said. “Nothing can replace hands-on experience in the hospital, but these simulations that we use are very high-tech, very advanced, and they can give students a very good hands-on experience before entering a hospital setting.”

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For Ivy Tech, this is a two-pronged approach: flexibility and funding.

The school just received an $ 8.75 million grant from IU Health to increase admissions to 600 nursing students per year by 2025. Everything is geared towards ensuring that patients in need of care have the right ones. nurses to provide them.

“This grant is really trying to help Ivy Tech to increase its membership by recruiting faculty, by more equipment,” Gilbert said. “This is an investment in the future of our nursing workforce. This helps to improve and expand the profession.