COVID-19 and Workforce Data

Issues Facing the Post-Pandemic Nursing Workforce in Oregon

Posted: August 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage states, including Oregon, the challenges facing our nursing workforce are shifting. Learn more in our recent issue brief.

Is COVID-19 Test Access Affecting the Health Care Employee Pipeline?

Posted: August 12, 2020

At a recent Friday Huddle, the conversation about workforce needs in the pandemic era shifted to CNA need and training concerns. A concern that caught our attention was a requirement for NA students to take COVID-19 tests prior to beginning clinical training at their worksites. Pre-licensure nursing programs have heard similar requests from clinical sites as they consider student placement for the Fall term.

So why would this rather simple and smart request from health care providers create such a kerfuffle?

Healthcare Education: Best Practices for Phased Reopening

Posted: May 28, 2020

Hear from Dr. Veronica Dujon, Dr. George Mejicano and Dr. Carla Hagen about the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s proposed healthcare education reopening guidelines submitted to Oregon Health Authority.

Assigning and Supervising Unregulated Healthcare Staff

Posted: April 2, 2020

​What is the difference between assignment and delegation? What tasks can be assigned to unregulated workers? Who is responsible for ensuring worker competency? Can nursing students be considered unregulated workers?

Oregon State Board of Nursing Executive Director Ruby Jason answers these important questions, and discusses what nurses need to understand about assigning tasks during the COVID-19 crisis.

Assessing and Preparing Your Workforce for Surge Capacity Nursing

Posted: March 31, 2020

As hospitals and health systems prepare to see a surge of COVID-19 cases in their communities, how are they preparing their workforces? Operating across several western states, Providence Health & Services was among the first health systems in the United States to respond to COVID-19 in their communities.

Troy Larkin, PhD, RN, Executive Director of Nursing Outcomes and Education at Providence Nursing Institute describes how his multi-state system developed a framework and identified resources to assess their existing workforce and transition them to provide a surge response.

Impact of COVID-19 on Nursing Education

Posted: March 16, 2020


As Oregonians anticipate and react to COVID-19 developments, the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) is focused on helping our partners navigate the workforce issues inevitably raised by the newly declared pandemic.

A key part of educating future health care workers is clinical education and internships which provide students with practical experience required for graduation and licensure in their respective disciplines. COVID-19 is driving many universities and colleges to transition to online courses when possible and close campuses when necessary. Additionally, health care organizations across Oregon are deciding how to effectively protect patients, preserve resources and deploy staff in their facilities during this unprecedented time. All of this has the potential to impact nursing education in our state.

Today’s nursing students are the front-line nurses of tomorrow. Delays in education programs due to a potential lack of clinical placements or instructors could worsen nursing workforce shortages and maldistribution in Oregon. A backlog of students waiting to complete nursing school impacts those students, and those waiting to start nursing school.

Statistics Regarding Nursing Education in Oregon:

In the 2018-2019 school year, there were 732 nurse educators employed as faculty and instructors in Oregon’s nursing programs. Half of instructors were age 60 and older, placing them at high risk of complications from COVID-19. 

In the 2018-2019 school year, approximately 3,500 students were enrolled in Oregon pre-licensure nursing education programs. Programs graduated 1,555 students during the school year.

A reduction in the availability of student clinical placements would delay student graduation and create an impact on the number of new nurses available to enter the workforce.

What does it all mean?

Given Oregon’s current demands for nurses, pipeline disruptions have the potential to exacerbate localized nursing shortages leading to higher patient mortality rates, increased medication errors, overcrowded health settings, and delays in accessing care.

Organizations across the state are faced with difficult decisions in an environment where information and circumstances are rapidly changing. With the pressing need for more nurses to meet the growing needs of Oregonians, it’s vital to continue to support nurse education. Educators, health care organizations and the state’s regulatory agencies must proactively consider innovative solutions to preserve the nursing education pipeline in Oregon. The actions they take today will impact on the health care workforce of tomorrow.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, OCN will actively explore nursing workforce data and examine how decisions being made now impact the nursing workforce of the future.

COVID-19 and Workforce Planning

Posted: March 12, 2020


The attention of the state, nation and world is laser-focused on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). While we monitor the development of the virus in our communities, we are also hearing from our health care partners about their dedicated efforts to respond to this new disease and assist affected community members.

Media have reported staff from various organizations have been affected by exposure to the COVID-19 virus. From a workforce planning perspective, we offer the following statistics to help you navigate your nursing workforce in response to COVID-19.

Nurses are the largest segment of Oregon’s health care workforce, with an estimated 42,500 registered nurses and 3,800 advanced practice registered nurses practicing in the state.

Early studies have shown that individuals over the age of 60 have an increased risk of serious illness if exposed to COVID-19.

23% of Oregon’s registered nurse workforce is 60 or older.

71% of Oregon’s registered nurses work in hospital and office/clinic settings where exposure to COVID-19 may be higher.

18% of those nurses are age 60 or older.

11% of Oregon’s registered nurses work in skilled nursing or home/health hospice settings where they will be working with vulnerable populations.

29% of those nurses are age 60 or older.

What does it all mean? 

COVID-19 will undoubtedly have an impact on the availability and accessibility of staff. Organizations should already be looking at strategies to prevent unknown exposure including utilizing telehealth services when possible, redistributing staff to protect workers from vulnerable populations and ensuring everyone has up-to-date information on COVID-19 prevention strategies.

As this global pandemic continues to evolve, the Oregon Center for Nursing will be examining how it impact our local nursing workforce and access to care.

If you have specific questions, or would like to share how your organization is responding to COVID-19, please click here.

COVID-19 Resource Links:

Join Oregon’s nursing leaders and stakeholders at OCN’s weekly Huddle.

PPE Resources

Browse lists of Oregon companies providing PPE equipment.