New Study Outlines Drawbacks to Reliance on Nurse Migration

Oregon’s healthcare providers have long relied on nurse migration from other states to fill open nursing positions. A new study from the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) demonstrates how this reliance on nurse migration impacts employers and communities in different ways.

“Though Oregon doubled enrollment in our nursing education programs in the early 2000s, the increase has not been enough to keep up with demand for nurses in the state” said Jana Bitton, Executive Director. “We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of nurses endorsing to practice in Oregon particularly over the past five years.”

OCN conducted a review of data collected by the Oregon State Board of Nursing focused on method of licensure, practice setting and location. The data showed while the number of nurses endorsing increased, less than half of those nurses came to Oregon to practice.

Research Director Rick Allgeyer also found smaller counties and non-hospital settings tended to rely more on endorsing nurses to fill open positions when compared to hospitals and urban areas. “When demand for nurses goes up, like it has during the pandemic, Oregon’s rural areas and non-hospital settings face an increased risk for staffing issues,” said Allgeyer.

“Understanding the practice patterns of our nursing workforce and its impact on communities across our state is critical to making sure our state can provide timely, high-quality healthcare to Oregonians,” said Bitton.

OCN is a nonprofit organization created by nursing leaders in 2002. OCN facilitates research and collaboration for Oregon’s nursing workforce to support informed, well-prepared, diverse and exceptional nursing professionals. Recognized by the Oregon state legislature as a state advisor for nursing workforce issues, OCN fulfills its mission through nurse workforce research, building partnerships, and promoting nursing and healthcare.  

Media Contact:
Jana Bitton, MPA