America’s persistent nursing shortage reached a dramatic new inflection point earlier this year when 7,000 New York City nurses went on strike, alleging that their hospitals are so short staffed they’re unsafe. New York’s strike comes on the heels of 714 strikes or labor actions from healthcare personnel over the past two years, many centered around inadequate staffing and pay. In a 2022 survey, more than 90 percent of nurses reported staffing shortages at their organizations.
Policymakers at all levels of government have taken steps to increase the number of nurses entering the profession through investments in nursing education. However, new programs will be of limited effectiveness if they are not paired with reforms that prevent nurses from leaving the floor altogether, starting with staffing policies that limit the number of patients per nurse and banning all types of health care employers from requiring workers to sign noncompete agreements.
The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill.
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