A bipartisan bill hopes to help Ohio’s nursing shortage with staffing requirements

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The nursing shortage that started during the pandemic hasn’t gotten any better, with thousands expected to leave the profession in the next five years. A bipartisan bill that seeks to address Ohio’s nursing shortage was put forward this week.

A nurse walks down a hallway in an Ohio hospital
A nurse walks down a hallway in an Ohio hospital. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]
Rep. Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) said the bill he and Rep. Elgin Rogers (D-Toledo) are proposing will create nursing staff requirements for hospitals that he called “legally enforceable.””I can tell you from my conversations with nurses across the state that many of them are at a breaking point,” Ghanbari said. “They are being asked to care for far too many patients in stressful work environments are leading to burnout. And that burnout is only increasing the nurse staffing crisis.”“This is essential to ensure that every patient receives the quality of care that he or she deserves and that everyone would want for their loved ones,” Ghanbari said.Ghanbari didn’t have details on how the staffing requirements would be enforced, but he said he and Rogers are committed to making this workable for hospitals.Rogers said he’s especially concerned about how staffing levels are affecting nurses and patients in senior centers and nursing homes.”I talk to folks who work in the senior centers and who work in the nursing facilities,” Rogers said. “I hear about those folks who are working third shift and being understaffed and people have called off. And they know that these are unscheduled call-offs and some of them are scheduled call-offs, and they aren’t getting the support that they need or deserve.”The bill also creates a $20 million education loan-to-grant program for those who commit to working in nursing in Ohio for five years.The bill is backed by the Ohio Nurses Association. The group said a statewide survey showed 7 out of every 10 direct care nurses are considering leaving bedside nursing due to current conditions, and 58 of those who have left cited patient care load as a factor. But the survey indicated around 43% of nurses would consider returning if enforceable minimum staffing standards were passed.