The Senate passed a bill this week to enter Minnesota into the Nurse Licensure Compact. Despite being billed as a way to combat the shortage of nursing staff throughout the state, serious questions remain as to whether this would help or hurt patient care.
Minnesota nurses provide some of the highest-quality care in the nation, but the prolonged stress of the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed some into early retirement or out of the healthcare workforce altogether. For years nurses have asked for better conditions to ensure they can provide high-quality care for their patients, but none of these nurses’ requests are included in this bill. Instead of out-of-state nurses coming in for temporary help, Senate DFLers raised the need to take a hard look at why nurses are walking away from the bedside, and why this bill could exacerbate the problem.
Minnesota nurses need more input in staffing decisions, both for their safety and the safety of their patients. The shortage of staff working in hospitals also highlights the need for more resources including mental health support, loan forgiveness, and financial aid for students looking to enter the nursing field. Senate DFLers have bills to address the comprehensive solutions that nurses have vouched for to improve retention, but Senate Republicans have chosen to ignore our nurses and refuse to hear the bill.
The Nurse Licensure Compact does nothing to address why nurses are walking away from the bedside. It just makes it easier to ignore the reasons they’re leaving and replace them with temporary workers. Instead of hoping out-of-state workers will solve this crisis, Senate DFLers are committed to focusing on solutions that invest in Minnesota nurses and emphasize the state’s high standards for patient care. (SF 2302)