Louisiana is facing a serious shortage of registered nurses and this problem will continue to get worse unless state leaders take action now.
Senator Bob Hensgens is proposing HERO's fund as a way to improve nursing education in our state. He says Louisiana does not pay enough to RN's who have a masters to get them to teach in our nursing programs. He says the result is a serious shortage of nurses in Louisiana. He says there are currently 6,000 job openings for nurses in Louisiana.
HERO (Healthcare Employment Reinvestment Opportunity) fund would be set up as a special fund in the state treasury. Money would come from grants, donations and some state dollars. The money would be used to support the nursing and allied health professions.
There is currently a backlog of students trying to get into nursing schools around the state, but not enough professors to teach the courses. The plan is to boost the salaries of professors to encourage more qualified nurses to teach the next generation of nurses.
Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed says "shame on us if we don't look beyond the pandemic and address the health care shortage. It existed before the pandemic, but it has been exacerbated during the pandemic."
The measure passed unanimously in the Senate Finance Committee.
A similar pilot program has been tried and it resulted in 1700 more nursing and allied health students.

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