ICYMI: State’s Higher Education Leaders Unite Behind Legislation to Address Urgent Nursing Shortage

February 10, 2023

Op-Ed Appears in New York Daily News

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. along with City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez and the Commission on Independent Colleges & Universities in New York President Lola Brabham penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News with an urgent call for legislation to help solve New York State’s nursing shortage. 

The legislation would boost the supply of nurses – and bring more New Yorkers to stable jobs – by joining other states in allowing an appropriate combination of high-quality virtual simulation and clinical experience in healthcare settings to train nurses.

Read the full opinion piece here.

A simple way Albany can ease the dire nursing shortage

By 2030, New York is projected to face a shortage of almost 40,000 nurses. Health care industry experts have been sounding the alarm about a mounting shortage of registered nurses for several decades, as demand for skilled professionals has outpaced supply.

Nursing programs across New York are ready to meet this challenge, but they face a major obstacle: a lack of quality clinical placements in hospital settings that nurses must complete before receiving their license.

Across the country and in New York, nursing programs are turning away qualified applicants because of the shortage of clinical training placements. Even when placements are available, for many they are not located near the student's home base, requiring hours of travel resulting in some students unable to complete their education in order to enter the health care workforce. Without enough high-quality clinical placements, nursing programs across the state cannot expand to meet the demand from prospective students to fulfill the state's nursing needs.

There is a solution: much-needed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo that will permit nursing programs to provide up to one-third of a student's clinical work in a high-tech simulation environment. This environment mirrors the immersive hospital setting where they will continue to complete two-thirds of their required hours.

Fully regulated by the state Department of Education, these simulated clinical settings feature realistic cases in which students must deliver health care to a simulated patient, reacting to the same data that they will use as professionals. Often, these scenarios expose students to cases and situations they may not otherwise experience in a clinical environment.

A national study by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing showed that the substitution of clinical simulation for up to 50% of traditional clinical experiences is an effective model that ensures nursing students are fully prepared to enter their profession. Thirty-one states currently provide some level of simulated clinical training for nursing students, leveraging technology to provide hands-on learning in a safe environment while prioritizing patient safety.

It is time for New York to join them. The long-term impacts of New York's nursing crisis would be devastating if nothing is done to expand the nursing workforce, especially for already underserved communities. Our state's public and private nonprofit colleges and universities are working hard to prevent that by educating the nurses of tomorrow. But we cannot do it without Albany's help. Simulated clinical education is a necessary tool to meet the growing demand for future healthcare heroes.

Brabham is president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, King is SUNY chancellor, and Matos Rodríguez is CUNY chancellor.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit suny.edu.

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Holly Liapis
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