Indiana lawmakers consider easing nursing school rules | Health, Medicine and Fitness
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposed relaxation of Indiana’s regulations on nursing education programs is moving through the Legislature, with supporters saying the step is needed to help address a shortage of nurses in the statewide.
Hospital officials and health care organizations supporting the proposal told lawmakers that thousands of nursing jobs are open across the state amid exacerbated shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic as some nurses quit or took part-time jobs, Indianapolis Business Journal reported.
The Indiana House could vote in the coming days on whether to approve The law project this would require nursing schools to increase enrollment and hire more part-time instructors. A committee voted unanimously last week to approve the proposal.
The Community Health Network, with a staff of 5,000 nurses and hospitals in Indianapolis, Anderson and Kokomo, is trying to fill about 600 nursing positions, said Jean Putnam, the system’s chief nursing officer. She said hospitals and nursing homes across the state have some 4,000 nursing jobs open.
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“I’ve never seen this type of vacancy rate in my career,” Putnam told the legislative committee.
The bill would allow nursing programs that have been in operation for five years or more and have an 80% or higher rate of students passing the state licensing exam to increase enrollment at any rate they deem appropriate, rather than the current limit of 25% per annum.
The bill would also allow nurses with a bachelor’s degree to teach associate-level nursing courses if they are enrolled and progressing to a master’s degree program. Other provisions would allow more than half of nursing program instructors to be part-time and schools to conduct more of a student’s clinical training time with simulations using manikins and games. of role.
Indiana will need 5,000 more nurses by 2031 and currently needs to increase the number of nursing students graduating by 1,350 each year, said Republican Rep. Ethan Manning of Denver, sponsor of the bill.
“It’s a problem that existed before, but the pandemic has made the problem worse, like a lot of other things,” Manning said.
Ivy Tech Community College, which trains about 1,300 nurses a year, said it had to turn away 300 qualified students last year because it didn’t have enough places available. The bill would allow Ivy Tech to increase nursing seats by 600 a year by allowing it to hire more adjunct faculty who could teach classes and oversee clinical simulation training, said Mary Jane Michalak, vice – president of public affairs of the college.
Norma Hall, dean of the Indianapolis University school of nursing, said she opposes the bill’s provisions allowing schools to provide up to half of clinical training through simulation, rather than real patients.
“This violates our national accreditation standard, which allows simulation to be used in addition to, but not as a replacement for, actual patient contact hours,” she said.
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