America’s healthcare sector remains crippled, even in the aftermath of COVID-19. A recent op-ed from The Hill explained that Americans will face a gap between 200,000 and 450,000 nurses by 2025. To fully rehabilitate the sector, the U.S. must double the nurses entering the workforce annually—all while current practitioners are leaving the field at an unprecedented rate.
The Hill piece rightly calls on legislators to act rapidly to implement solutions to this life-threatening crisis. Their calls to strengthen the pipeline of future nurses are meritorious. Yet, the piece fails to mention a solution that can fill in critical gaps in care now: foreign-educated nurses.
Foreign educated nurses are highly skilled professionals who seek employment abroad. These trained and accredited nurses offer a clear solution to provide patients with the highest quality care possible immediately.
A new report from the Consumer Choice Center outlines a roadmap that lawmakers would be wise to follow, particularly as it pertains to savvy immigration reform. The report recommends that lawmakers increase the allotment of visas for skilled workers, like nurses. It also calls for lawmakers to utilize unclaimed visas from previous years to bring in professionals during this time of need. Finally, the report calls for a streamlined immigration process, removing unnecessary red tape and artificial barriers to entry and making the process more accessible for all.
Patients don’t have the luxury of time. They are not able to wait while policymakers mull over nuanced details to bolster just the long-term, domestic pipeline of care. They need care now. America must enhance its healthcare workforce pipeline—but before that, we need to fill in critical gaps in care with highly trained, foreign-educated nurses.