Submitted for use on Feb. 25, 2022
Word Count: 383
As we saw during the pandemic, Indiana's healthcare professionals, including our nurses, are an important part of our society. But even before the pandemic, Indiana was facing a nursing shortage. Indiana must work to address this shortage in order to make sure Hoosiers are able to have proper health care available to them.
House Enrolled Act 1003 was created and passed as an effort to relax state regulations and bolster Indiana's nursing workforce. This legislation would allow nursing programs that have a sufficient passage rate and have been in operation for at least five years to increase their enrollment by any rate they deem appropriate. Nursing programs that don't meet these criteria can still increase their enrollment by up to 100%, giving these programs more flexibility.
According to Ivy Tech Community College, in 2021, they were forced to turn away 300 qualified students who wanted to get into the program because the school was limited to 1,700 spots. By removing the requirement that more than half of a state educational institution's associate degree nursing program faculty be full-time employees, HEA 1003 would authorize associate degree nursing programs to hire more adjunct instructors. In addition, this legislation would give nursing programs the option to substitute clinical hours with simulation hours.
HEA 1003 also includes language that will continue Indiana's policy of allowing temporary licensure for recent retirees and recent graduates to help bolster our nursing workforce as we deal with these shortages.
Additionally, while HEA 1003 allows nursing programs to have a better ability to admit, teach and graduate nursing students, there is still a sufficient check and balance to ensure graduates have the skills needed to enter the nursing profession.
Nurses play a vital role in our health care system, and it is imperative we make sure that they are treated fairly and supported. I will continue looking for ways to support our nurses and having conversations with our community to improve this situation.
Having been amended in the Senate, HEA 1003 was concurred on in the House of Representatives and will now move to the governor for consideration.
As always, feel free to contact my office with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Raatz@iga.in.gov or by phone at 317-233-0930.
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