The Future of Oregon’s Nursing Workforce: Analysis and Recommendations

The Oregon Center for Nursing recently published “The Future of Oregon’s Nursing Workforce: Analysis and Recommendations

The Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Health Care Workforce Committee to conduct a study of the nursing workforce, produce a report to identify and describe challenges in addressing nurse staffing shortages (HB 4003 – 2022 Regular Session of Oregon State Legislature), and offer findings and recommendations. The goal of this study is to guide efforts of the legislature and the Oregon Health Authority to address critical concerns about ongoing nursing workforce shortages in Oregon. The study findings indicate Oregon’s nursing workforce is severely stressed and that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed and exacerbated existing issues. The current nurse staffing shortages appear to be widespread. While nurses are experiencing high burnout and exhaustion, the causes likely differ across regions and type of practice setting (e.g., hospital, clinic, or skilled nursing facility). The study also found that nurses and employers across Oregon are deeply concerned about the shortages. These findings illustrate the challenges the state’s nursing education programs face to graduate enough new nurses to meet Oregon’s projected need. Education programs for registered nurses have experienced slower growth of new enrollments over the past few years, while programs educating licensed practical nurses have seen enrollment declines. Reasons for slowed growth of Oregon’s nursing education programs include the inability to recruit and retain enough nurse educators, which is attributable to low pay for nurse faculty when compared to colleagues practicing in clinical settings, and a shortage of adequate clinical placements. Because Oregon’s education programs do not produce enough new nurses to meet projected need, the state relies on nurses migrating to Oregon to practice. If the rate of migration from other states and countries declines, rural communities and non-hospital settings are at particularly high risk of not being able to recruit and hire an adequate number of nurses.

Read the series of recommendations that were offered in the article on the Oregon Center for Nursing site which determined, based on careful review of the existing health care workforce literature and the findings from this study by visiting: Oregon Center for Nursing