Bernie Sanders Discusses the Nursing Shortage with Medical Professionals

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders visited the University of Vermont School of Medicine Friday to discuss key issues related to the state’s nurse shortage, and Sanders has brought in Carol Johnson of the US Department of Health Resources and Services to help advance the conversation about widespread employment issues. Find out more about how shortages are affecting medical professionals. “We don’t have a place, we don’t have faculty, we don’t have scholarships,” said Dr. Noma Anderson, from the University of Vermont. Sanders said he sympathizes with how many hospital employees feel about the staff shortage. “We have a major nursing crisis in Vermont and the result is that we don’t have enough local nurses,” Sanders said. Many hospitals have switched to using mobile nurses to fill the shortage, which is costing hospitals more money than hiring a traditional staff member. “On this hospital alone…they are going to spend over $115 million on mobile nurses,” Sanders said. The shortfall is the lack of funding for nursing schools and their faculty. “We have people who want to be nurses…and our nursing schools can’t accommodate them,” Sanders said. “We pay nurses very low salaries.” This is where the US Department of Health Resources and Services comes in. “We said this year at HRSA that we’re going to take some of our resources that would normally have funded our training programs and redirect them to the funding educators.” We need to invest in the parts of the workforce where we see these challenges, and we see these gaps. “Other medical facilities in the state can also expect some much-needed help from HRSA.” Everything we’ve said about nursing also applies to behavioral health care. “We know mental health and substance use disorders are in dire need right now,” Johnson said. HRSA will continue to work with hospital systems in Vermont to find the best solutions moving forward.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders visited the University of Vermont School of Medicine Friday to discuss key issues related to the state’s nurse shortage.

Sanders brought in Carol Johnson of the US Department of Health Resources and Services to help advance the conversation about pervasive employment issues and learn more about how shortages are affecting medical professionals.

“We don’t have a place, we don’t have faculty, we don’t have scholarships,” said Dr. Noma Anderson, from the University of Vermont.

Sanders said he sympathizes with how many hospital employees feel about the staff shortage.

“We have a major nursing crisis in Vermont and the result is that we don’t have enough local nurses,” Sanders said.

Many hospitals have switched to using mobile nurses to fill a shortage that costs hospitals more money than hiring a traditional staff member.

“On this hospital alone…they are going to spend over $115 million on mobile nurses,” Sanders said.

One reason for the shortfall is the lack of funding for nursing schools and their faculty.

“We have people who want to be nurses…and our nursing schools can’t accommodate them,” Sanders said. “We pay nurses and teachers very low salaries.”

This is where the US Department of Health Resources and Services comes in.

“We said this year at HRSA that we would take some of our resources that would normally have funded our training programs and redirect them to the funding educators,” Johnson said. We need to invest in the parts of the workforce where we see these challenges, and we see these gaps.”

Other medical facilities in the state can also expect some much-needed help from HRSA.

“Everything we said about nursing also applies to behavioral health care. We know mental health and substance use disorders are in dire need now,” Johnson said.

HRSA will continue to work with hospital systems in Vermont to find the best solutions moving forward.

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