Senate Republicans announced legislation Monday to add Minnesota to the national Interstate Nurse Licensure Compact. The compact falls short of addressing the crisis in the nursing industry facing our state, according to Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul).
“Everyone is experiencing the disruption brought by two years of a global pandemic, but few have faced as much adversity or professional moral injury as much as our nurses who have been caring for patients around the clock across the state,” said Senator Murphy. “Throughout the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, our nurses stepped up, putting their own health at risk, to take care of our communities. The critical shortage of professional nurses is nationwide and predates COVID — retaining Minnesota’s nurses is the solution we must pursue.”
In the last week at the Capitol, the Minnesota Nurses Association held their remote day on the hill, meeting with legislators from every district in the state. The top priority of these nurses was passage of the “Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act,” a package of proposals that would provide comprehensive support to our nurses.
The measure would address the hospital staffing shortage by establishing committees at every Minnesota hospital – made up of both nurses and hospital management – to set staffing levels. It would also help reduce the number of nurses leaving the profession with provisions to recruit and retain nurses, and it would create a new student loan forgiveness program for nurses. The bill would also provide grants for hospitals to establish mental health programs for nurses and other health care professionals who continue to be stretched to the breaking point, something that has greatly accelerated during the pandemic.