A Typical RI Solution for “Solving” a Nursing “Shortage”

Our state is in dire financial trouble based on structural deficits, is on the wrong end of just about every state-by-state comparative list, and is losing its “productive class” by the thousands every year, but the matter of concern for a special legislative commission is, in the words of its Co-chairman Sen. James Doyle (D., Pawtucket):

Even if there are nurses without jobs now, the shortage of nurses, Doyle said, “is going to be a serious issue some day.”

Some day. Okay. Let’s take that as a plausible reason for at least strategizing methods of increasing the state’s supply of nurses. What are some of the problems that must be addressed? Well, there’s a reluctance to work more comfortable shifts and in more prestigious locations:

But many graduates want to work only the day shift in a hospital or don’t want the less-prestigious nursing-home and home health-care jobs.

Meanwhile, employers are wary of investing in the training of young new hires:

In the hospitals where there are jobs, officials don’t want to hire new graduates because they can be expensive to train and there is a fear that, once trained, they will leave to take another job, said commission Co-chair Lynne M. Dunphy, of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Nursing.

Perhaps Ms. Dunphy’s profession partially explains why the commission contrived such a peculiar means of addressing these specific problems:

A special legislative commission formally unveiled its proposal to give educators in the state’s nursing schools an annual $3,500 tax credit, an attempt to keep them teaching so they can make a dent in what the panel said is a looming shortage of nurses in the state.

So, if there’s a problem in the nursing profession life cycle, it has to do with matching candidates with difficult-to-fill positions; there’s no indication that nursing schools are suffering a lack of students for whose educations they are unable to find teachers; and a legislative commission co-chaired by a nursing educator thinks shaving another “half-million dollars” out of the annual budget to benefit this extremely select class of citizens is the solution.
Yup. That’s Rhode Island for ya.

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