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Hammond Law Firm on Nurse Immigration

Obama on International Nurses

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On Thursday, in an off-the-cuff response to a question by Rep. Lois Capps, the President said, "The notion that we would have to import nurses makes absolutely no sense." The statement was picked up by some international news organizations. The President continued, "And there are a lot of people who would love to be in that helping profession, and yet we just aren't providing the resources to get them trained, that's something that we've got to fix.  That should be a no-brainer. That should be a bipartisan no-brainer, to make sure that we've got the best possible nursing staffs in the country," Obama said.


The international papers' reactions are overblown. The President's statement was somewhat obvious: the US should train more nurses. The statements were more aspiration than operational. In other words, many of the interested parties - hospitals, US nursing schools, much of the US public - would prefer that the US grows its own nurses. But even the President recognizes that this isn't likely to happen.


"And when it comes to nurse faculty, they get paid even worse than active nurses. So what happens is, is that it is very difficult for a nurse practitioner to go into teaching, because they're losing money," he recognized.


There's an elegant short-term solution out there. Last year's HR 5924 seeks to ameliorate the current nursing shortage by providing 60,000 nurses (and Physical Therapists) over the next 3 years. HR 5924 also compels the international recruitment industry to commit $90 Million ($1,500 per nurse) over the same three year span. These funds will be allocated to US nursing schools so that they can increase infrastructure and train the next nurses.


The 2009 version of the bill shortly will be introduced, and is expected to receive wide support. Let's hope that the President and leaders like Rep. Capps can recognize a solution when it is offered to them.

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  1. Steff Woodworth's Avatar
    Chris, will the bill be re-introduced as HR 5924? I would like to write my representatives in Florida to support this bill. What Congressional leaders are already on board and who are the main sponsors of the bill currently? Thanks, Steff and Maritha
  2. Jenda's Avatar
    The more one regulates an industry, the less it responds to market incentives. There are rarely shortages of car salesmen or mechanics, but they do not have to live in the Alice in Wonderland world of healthcare where paperwork errors can be felonies and not for profits are the path to real earnings.
    Unfortunately, market based solutions hardly seem in vogue at the moment.
  3. C.V. Compton Shaw's Avatar
    Support the 2009 Emergency Attorney Shortage Relief Act!
    The USA has an attorney shortage that is dramatic and causing wide spread economic, social, political, legal, and cultural havoc in the USA because of the same.
    We can alleviate this terrible and tragic shortage by allowing the immigration of 100,000 attorneys to the USA from abroad.
    Contact your Congressman now to support this very important act!
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