Some hospitals are turning more and more to nursing assistants because they just dont have enough registered nurses. This week, state lawmakers filed legislation they hope will bring more nurses into the field.
Last year, Texas needed 22,000 more full-time registered nurses than it had. To try to attract more people to nursing, lawmakers are discussing issues like mandatory overtime except in emergencies. Some say that and improving the work environment will keep nurses from leaving the profession.
The legislation would also give nurses more power in developing the nurse-patient ratios for each hospital. Nurses would also be able to determine how they evaluate those ratios, based on factors such as infection rates.
The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies says without intervention, Texas will be short 70,000 nurses by 2020, as older nurses retire and baby boomers age, requiring more medical care.
The Texas Nurses Association, which supports the new legislation, says the shortage affects both public and private hospitals, as well as general and specialty facilities.