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Bill Would Tap American Rescue Plan Dollars for Nursing Scholarships

(KFOR NEWS  February 10, 2022)  According to the Nebraska Center for Nursing, the state’s nursing shortage is more than 4,000. It’s expected to increase to nearly 55-hundred in the next 3 years.

Nebraska lawmakers are set to hear a measure Friday that would tap unspent federal COVID relief dollars to help address what some are calling a health-professional staffing crisis. L-B 1091 would invest five million dollars in scholarships for residents who agree to work in the state as L-P-Ns or certified nursing assistants for at least two years.  Melissa Florell is a registered nurse and educator who believes the bill should be amended to include scholarships for people seeking nursing degrees.

“There are nine counties in Nebraska that don’t have any registered nurses right now, and there are four counties that only have one. Our Center for Nursing projects a significant shortage of registered nurses in the coming years, and that was pre-COVID.”

Tim Mussak with the Center for Rural Affairs says now is a great opportunity to use some of the remaining American Rescue Plan money to ensure that all residents have access to care.

“We continue to see rural hospital closures. And certain professions such as mental-health practitioners or OB-GYNs are just completely absent from substantial portions of our state, mostly in rural areas.”

Registered nurses, L-P-Ns and C-N-As play critical roles in keeping the doors open in rural health-care organizations and at long-term care and assisted-living facilities, filling a need likely to increase because of the state’s aging population.

READ MORE:   Two Covid-19 Deaths Reported In Lincoln Wednesday

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