Lawmakers introduce plan to add more nursing programs throughout Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH — “They’re overworked, overstressed, and its just a major strain on the system,” state Rep. Aaron Bernstine told Channel 11.

For nearly two years, nurses have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nationwide, there’s been a nursing shortage for months, and the Pittsburgh area is no exception.

Rep. Bernstine just introduced legislation that would add more nursing programs throughout the state.

“The way the law is today, only regionally accredited schools can provide the required education for nursing. What we want to do is change that to schools and other nationally accredited places. That way, people can move here to Pennsylvania, and get their licenses, and be accredited in order to serve patients in PA,” Rep. Bernstine said.

CCAC is also working to help stop the shortage. The college and Kane Community Living Centers are collaborating on a new certified nursing aide training program that is free for Allegheny County residents who want to become nurse aides.

Channel 11 has reported that AHN now offers signing bonuses to attract nurses, and UPMC created an in-house travel nursing program in hopes of appealing to candidates.

“These are our heroes on the frontlines. We have to do everything possible to make their lives easier,” Rep. Bernstine said.

He’s hopeful that his bill can make a difference.

“It’s the antiquated laws that we have on the books. While this legislation isn’t a silver bullet to fix everything, it makes it easier for nurses to become accredited in Pennsylvania,” he added.