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Nursing Shortage Solutions: 28 Initiatives by States, Schools, and Hospitals

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated October 10, 2023
    States, hospitals, and schools are working on creative solutions to address nursing shortages. Learn how the system must change to meet this challenge.
    • Nursing shortages are some of the worst in decades, and experts believe they may get worse before it gets better.
    • States, schools, and hospitals are scrambling to develop creative solutions to address this challenge.
    • These are only some of the solutions being tested throughout the U.S., including full scholarships, new BSN programs, and collaborative partnerships in the private and public sector.

    Nursing shortages abound across the U.S. In New York State, the shortages are at “an all-time high.” Unfilled nursing jobs in Massachusetts have doubled since 2019, now resting near 14%. Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Connecticut stopped inpatient and outpatient surgery in June 2022 and is seeking to close labor and delivery.

    The Florida Hospital Association says nursing shortages in the state may be at their worst in decades. Find out some nursing shortage initiatives that states, schools, and hospitals are taking.

    28 Initiatives by States, Schools, and Hospitals to Combat the Nursing Shortage

    Hospitals have dealt with nursing shortages well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Murphy, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, believes hospitals in her state have been relying on mandatory overtime instead of collaborating with nursing organizations, legislatures, and hospitals to address nursing shortage solutions.

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the problems with nursing shortages, and those challenges have only worsened. Here is how states, schools, and hospitals are working to address the nursing shortage to fill their nursing staff positions and protect patient care in the future.


    • The governor allocated $12.3 million in funding to pay for travel nurses to temporarily fill vacancies in hospital staffing.
    • Alabama Baptist Universities are partnering to increase nursing salaries for in-state nurses, offering financial incentives for nurses seeking a master of science in nursing to become nurse educators. The Universities are actively seeking funds to provide scholarships for nursing students.


    • The state allocated $85 million for staffing and overtime expenses.
    • Hospitals hope to expand preceptor training programs to meet the needs of clinical rotations for incoming nursing students as part of the nursing shortage solution.
    • Legislation is proposed to invest $15 million in the Nurse Education Investment Pilot Program to fund nursing education at colleges and universities.


    • The California Strategic Planning Committee for Nursing was formed in 1992 to address master planning issues. They provide reliable data for public policy initiatives. However, some blame the California Board of Nursing for the current shortage of over 41,000 nurses in the state. They allege the board capped nursing school enrollment for over a decade.
    • The Nursing Faculty Loan Program granted Azusa Pacific University’s School of Nursing over $1 million to reduce financial barriers for students. This is added to the over $7 million in grant money that has benefited over 140 students. The University of California San Francisco partnered with Operation Safer Ground for public health clinical rotations.


    • An advisory council was formed to address southern Florida’s nursing shortage, helping to strategize ways to hire and retain nurses.
    • Hospitals use sign-on bonuses and salary increases to maximize recruitment and retention as one nursing shortage initiative.
    • Florida State University started rolling admissions to accommodate more students into the program. They reduced the GPA and grade requirement for admission into the bachelor of science nursing (BSN) program, and they extended application deadlines.


    • Pending legislation will add Illinois to the multistate nursing license compact agreement. The state also allocated funding to nursing home facilities for wage increases.
    • Southern Illinois Healthcare and Southern Illinois University partnered to offer an accelerated BSN program to qualified students. Students could earn a BSN within one year under a fully funded scholarship.
    • A partnership between the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and City Colleges of Chicago’s Malcolm X College was formed to create a dual degree program. Students will graduate with an associate nursing degree from Malcolm X College and a BSN from UIC, completing the BSN program faster and less expensively.


    • The U.S. Health Resources Services Administration contributed $3.9 million to Montana State University’s School of Nursing. The grant money aims to provide clinical opportunities to nursing students who will offer healthcare to children in rural and underserved areas.
    • Montana hospitals have been recruiting international nurses to fill open positions. This opens the opportunity for them to become U.S. citizens but also increases the nursing shortages experienced in other parts of the world. The state also initiated a recruitment program, which included reimbursing nurses for moving expenses after maintaining employment for 12 months.
    • Montana State University received $700,000 in 2018 to recruit and train nursing students.

    New York

    • The governor proposed, and there is pending legislation, to opt-in to the interstate licensure nursing compact to allow out-of-state travel nurses easier access to fill temporary positions.
    • SUNY Erie Community College and Erie County Medical Center have partnered to offer 50 nursing students up to $1,500 in annual scholarships. It would cover expenses that federal and state grants do not.
    • St. John’s University is seeking approval to open a new BSN degree program and plans an interprofessional educational program.


    • Oregon secured federal funding in the 2023 fiscal year that included $318 million to support nurses. It will also help funding for maternal child programs with more access to community health centers as part of a nursing shortage solution.
    • The governor signed House Bill 4003 in March 2022 which created a nurse intern license. This allows nursing students to treat patients under the supervision of a registered nurse.
    • The Oregon Nurses Association has created a detailed nursing shortage initiative. The plan includes ending the unsustainable practice of relying on travel nurses, investing in nurses’ mental health, raising salaries for nursing faculty, and increasing the number and scale of financial aid and scholarships for nursing students.

    South Carolina


    • Texas allocated $7 billion in federal money to pay temporary travel nurses and other healthcare workers.
    • Hospitals and healthcare systems are collaborating to offer free nursing degrees, scholarships, and fellowship programs. They are also working with the Texas Nurses Association to offer faculty loan repayment programs as part of a nursing shortage initiative.
    • Dallas College is the largest community college in Texas. It has an associate degree in nursing program and is starting a new BSN program in fall 2023.


    Chung C. (2022). As U.S. COVID hospitalizations climb, a chronic nursing shortage is worsening. nytimes.com/2022/07/15/us/hospital-nursing-shortage.html

    Bartlett J. (2022). Nursing shortage at hospitals leads to multimillion-dollar costs.