Blunt Rochester Hosts Roundtable on Nursing Workforce Shortage with Beebe Healthcare


LEWES, Del. — Today, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) hosted a roundtable conversation at the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes on the impact of the nursing workforce shortage on Delaware’s health care sector. In September, Blunt Rochester introduced the bipartisan, bicameral National Nursing Workforce Center Act, legislation that would bring localized, on-the-ground support for states, such as Delaware, to either establish more Nursing Workforce Centers (NWC) or support their current centers to help with the recruitment and retention of nurses nationwide. This also follows Blunt Rochester’s introduction of the TRAIN Act, which protected the Rollins School of Nursing from a claw back of millions of federal dollars. 


The ongoing nursing workforce shortage impacting healthcare providers across the country was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Delaware, 45% of nurses surveyed between August and September of 2021 indicated they may or were definitely leaving their position in the next six months. Nationally, an estimated 500,000 nurses plan to leave their positions by the end of 2022 – creating a shortage of 1.1 million nurses. 


The roundtable conversation focused on the root causes of recruitment and retention challenges in the nursing field - factors such as stress and burnout. There was also discussion of other contributing factors, such as the high cost of childcare and housing that have made it difficult for many nurses to stay in the field. These are all issues that a Nursing Workforce Center could help address in Delaware and across the country. 


“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the existing challenges facing the health care sector, especially the nursing workforce shortage,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, a member of the House Health Subcommittee. “Today’s conversation brought together government officials, educators, advocates, and students to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the most pressing issues facing the nursing workforce today – from recruitment and retention to education and data collection. The National Nursing Workforce Center Act, a bipartisan and bicameral piece of legislation I introduced last month, would help address these issues by creating a pilot program to establish state-based nursing workforce centers in states that don’t already have them, including here in Delaware. This legislation will also create a formalized partnership between states and the federal government to improve the sharing of information, best practices, and technical assistance. I’d like to thank Beebe Healthcare for hosting us for today’s urgent and timely conversation as well as the participants for their insights, and I look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen and support our nursing workforce.”


“The Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing is proud to support Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s work that focuses on the development of a Delaware Nursing Workforce Center. The School of Nursing and Beebe Healthcare have worked with the Congresswoman on other legislative issues where she has always supported and led the charge to protect funding for hospital-based schools of nursing like Beebe. This current, bipartisan legislation, will positively affect all healthcare entities in the state so that we, as healthcare leaders, can use workforce data to proactively address further nursing workforce challenges.” – Dr. Karen Pickard, Director of the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing


Blunt Rochester was joined for the roundtable by State Senator Sarah McBride, State Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, Dr. Karen Pickard, Director of the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing, Stephanie McClellan, President of the Delaware Nurses Association and Cancer Institute Manager at Bayhealth, Timothy Gibbs, Executive Director of the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association,  Dr. Kelly Davis, Instructional Director of the RN to BSN Program at Delaware Technical Community College, Dr. Nishelle Harris-Hines, President of the Black Nurses Rock Delaware Chapter, Doreen Rushton, Director of Human Resources at La Red Health Center, Geoff Christ, Director of the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation, Megan McNamara Williams, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, Vice President of the Delaware Health Care Association, a current nursing school student, and a recent nursing school graduate.


A one-pager of the National Nursing Workforce Center Act can be found here



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