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Oregon Nurses Association Proposes New Guidelines

As the healthcare staffing shortage continues to impact the state of Oregon, the Oregon Nurses Association is proposing new policies to better retain its employees.  The Oregon Employment Department said that healthcare has consistently had the most vacancies of any industry in the state since 2013, the pandemic burnout and vaccine mandates have only made things worse.

One of the policies proposed by the Oregon Nurses Association during a meeting includes asking hospitals to pause their plans of returning to operating at maximum capacity. This comes as 60% of nurses at OHSU indicated they are considering leaving the profession entirely.

Calzia also called for hospitals to honor meal and rest breaks for nurses and to stop forcing travelling nurses to meet demand. He says that they need to pay attention to retaining existing nursing staff at hospitals or there is a risk perpetuating a cycle of them leaving their jobs to become travel nurses for better pay.

Calzia said that in Oregon they are noticing 30% of the nursing staff in some hospitals are made up of travelling nurses. In others, turnover is high. The majority of a unit might be composed of travelling nurses during some shifts. All hospital systems must plan how they can wean themselves off travel nurses, and turn those resources over to retention pay, incentives for existing staff, and improving the hospital environment.

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