Nurse shortages are set to get even worse with mass US visa delays – Baltimore Sun

Chief nurse at the largest rural Health network in America, Erica DeBoer, had hoped to alleviate the strain on her staff and patients with the arrival of more than 160 reinforcement nurses from around the world. However, due to visa retrogression, only 36 nurses will be able to come to the U.S., causing delays in filling the 1,000 open nurse roles across Sanford Health‘s facilities.

The U.S. visa retrogression is a result of a surge in demand colliding with annual caps, leading to a backlog in processing visa applications. This has affected at least 10,000 foreign nurses, exacerbating the existing national nursing shortage.

To address the shortage, Sanford Health plans to hire contract staff and utilize virtual care options such as “virtual sitters” and artificial intelligence tools. Additionally, the Health network is piloting a program to bring two-room clinics to small towns and is investing in technological upgrades to improve patient care.

However, these advanced technologies are expensive and may not be accessible to many hospitals, particularly those facing financial challenges. The use of Technology also has its limits, especially in fields like behavioral Health, where hands-on care and monitoring by nurses are essential.

International nurses like Andrew Hidalgo, who works in Sanford Health‘s behavioral Health unit, play a crucial role in addressing the shortage. However, addressing nurse turnover and improving working environments are also vital in tackling the issue.

The delays in visa processing have left many nurses like Karissa Canlas in limbo, waiting to fulfill their dreams of working in the U.S. Despite the uncertainty, they remain hopeful, acknowledging the challenges they face in pursuing their aspirations.

Context: The nursing shortage in the U.S. has been a long-standing issue, but it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reliance on foreign nurses to fill the gaps in the healthcare system has become more crucial than ever. The visa retrogression has added to the challenges faced by hospitals in addressing the shortage.

This article was distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC and originally appeared on Bloomberg L.P. Visit for more information.

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