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Advocates push for passage of bill meant to address nursing shortage

Oregon Nurses Association

Supporters of a bill meant to address Oregon’s shortage of nurses say the measure would speed up the process for nursing students to be able to work on the front lines. House Bill 4003 would also extend the length of time that non-residents could work as a nurse in Oregon without getting an Oregon nursing license.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Rep. Travis Nelson, D-Portland—who is also a registered nurse—said the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on people in his profession.

“We’ve rightfully been called heroes, fighting this COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines to save lives," he said. "But if we’re going to be called heroes, then we must be supported like heroes who have risked our lives during multiple waves of this pandemic.”

The Oregon Employment Department says the state’s nursing shortage pre-dates the pandemic. The bill under consideration was approved by the House Health Care Committee with bipartisan support, but awaits further action in the legislature’s budget-writing committee.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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