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Exploring the nursing shortage affecting Nebraska, a state with an aging population and many rural communities

As the nursing shortage continues to affect the nation, states are seeing the effects differently. Aging populations, rural and urban settings, and the brain drain/gain all affect the severity of the nursing shortage in a given state. And in Nebraska, these variables are all combining for devastating effects.

Experts have forecasted that Nebraska’s shortage will increase from 4,062 nurses to 5,436 in 2025 — an increase of nearly 34%. This percentage will manifest differently across the state — for example, most of the growth in nursing in the past few years has been concentrated in urban areas, while 90% of the state’s counties have fewer than the average amount of nurses per capita (1,300 nurses per 100,000 residents). Five counties have no registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. This means that rural populations are at risk as nurses continue to retire and are not replaced due to the ongoing shortage.

How much worse will the shortage get? National experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics expect the nursing pool to grow from 3.1 million nurses to 3.4 million by 2028 (an increase of 12%). But Nebraska’s shortage is expected to grow to 34%, indicating that the national trend will not be enough to fix this problem.

Nebraska has also employed nursing assistants to do simple tasks, such as taking vital signs and reporting these figures to registered nurses. However, past studies have shown that an increased number of nursing assistants and associates will lead to worse patient outcomes. Facilities will need to do more to ensure that their patients are receiving the right care.

What is the solution? Nebraska boasts a slightly positive brain gain, meaning that they are attracting more registered nurses than they are losing. Most of these nurses come from education programs in Nebraska. However, Nebraska also has a need for registered nurses who already work in advanced specialties. That’s where international nurses could help. PassportUSA works with facilities across the USA to place BSN-prepared nurses to facilities like yours. Click below to learn more:

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