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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Addressing the Nursing Shortage

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Texas had 22,000 fewer registered nurses than we needed in 2008, according to recent figures from the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies. In 2007, the Texas Legislature and nursing schools provided more resources for nursing education and increased nursing school graduates by 55 percent. While impressive, that was far below what we need.

The problem continues to be a shortage of qualified nursing school faculty. Texas Health is working with educators and policy makers to address this situation.

We believe it is imperative that the state legislature provide additional special-item funding to increase the annual graduation of RNs from the 7,000 we saw in 2007 to 13,000 graduates in 2013.

We must create incentives for nursing schools to admit and graduate more registered nurses, or RNs, within a reasonable time. We must provide financial aid and other incentives to encourage enrollment and graduation.

The state legislature should also build accountability into higher education so that funds actually produce more nursing graduates.

How can you help? Encourage your state representatives, state senators, local chamber of commerce, economic development council and other business organizations to support legislation that promises to increase the number of graduate nurses trained and ready to care for the people of our communities.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based family of hospitals, Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist, and Texas Health Arlington Memorial, I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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