Minnesota adds 8,000 registered nurses this year, over 130,000 now licensed in state  


Contact: Sam Fettig
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Lauren Nielsen
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New report from Board of Nursing underscores that there is no workforce shortage, but a crisis of retention in our hospitals

Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act advancing at the legislature to address retention, short staffing, and patient care

(St. Paul) – April 25, 2023 – New data just released by the Minnesota Board of Nursing shows that the state has added 8,000 new Registered Nurses so far since 2022, bringing the total number licensed in the state to more than 130,000. The report, published at the board’s April meeting, underscores that there is no shortage of registered nurses in Minnesota, but a crisis of retention driving nurses to leave the bedside and reduce their hours. The new data comes as the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act advances at the State Capitol; the bill passed in the Senate last week as part of the Health and Human Services omnibus bill (SF 2995), and is expected to come to a vote in the House tomorrow as part of that body’s Health omnibus bill (HF 2930).

“There are more nurses than ever before in Minnesota, but unacceptable working conditions and understaffing by hospital executives are driving nurses away faster than they can hire them,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, MNA President. “We must solve the problem this year to retain experienced nurses at the bedside in Minnesota, support the next generation of nurses, and protect patient care across the state.”

In a report issued earlier this year – “Why We Left: 2023 Nursing Workforce Report” – 2,400 Minnesota nurses were surveyed about why they left hospital bedside jobs. These nurses identified chronic under-staffing, hospital management, and other working conditions as the top issues driving nurses to leave hospital jobs or reduce their hours. Many nurses indicated that they did not want to leave the bedside, and would return if staffing and other working conditions improved. In fact, more than 80 percent of nurses indicated a willingness to return, meaning more than 2,000 Minnesota nurses are ready to come back to the bedside – if action is taken this year to address unsafe and unsustainable conditions in our hospitals.

To solve these problems, Minnesota nurses have advanced the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, a comprehensive approach to nurse staffing and retention that would establish committees of direct care workers and management at Minnesota hospitals to discuss what works best for staffing for their patients on a hospital-by-hospital, unit-by-unit level. Rather than patients waiting for hours or being denied care, the bill incentivizes hospitals to staff appropriately so nurses have the time and resources necessary to provide quality patient care. The bill also includes additional nurse recruitment and retention solutions including workplace violence prevention and loan forgiveness programs.