Arizona looks to address nursing shortage through new bill

House Bill 2691 will allocate up to $15 million toward establishing the nurse education investment pilot program.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:58 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Those in the medical profession are facing new burdens while on the job. All of it amid a nationwide nursing shortage, including here in Arizona.

Being a nurse in 2022 is not easy, whether dealing with the pandemic or the fear of mass shootings. “When you’re talking about mass casualties or really critically ill patients, you almost go into this survival mode in that you’re focusing on what resources you have to ensure that you can help somebody survive,” said Natalie Haywood, a former ER nurse.

It seems as though it would deter people from the job, but Heidi Sanborn with Arizona’s Nurses Association says there is a waiting list for nursing programs at many Arizona colleges and universities. “Nursing school capacity is limited, and so we’re limited by things like clinical spaces, how many opportunities and spaces do we have to train our nurses,” Sanborn said.

House Bill 2691 aims to address this issue. It allocates up to $15 million toward establishing the nurse education investment pilot program, which hopes to help move people through nursing programs quicker. “That could increase the capacity that schools have to be able to take on more cohorts of students,” she said.

The legislation was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey last week, and the nursing education program will remain in effect for the next three years.