Texas Nurses Join Call for Congress to Address Root Causes of Nursing Shortage


Soraya Marashi


The Texas Nurses Association is joining with the American Nurses Association in calling for Congress to “address the chronic causes of cyclical nursing shortages.”

ANA’s statement is in response to outcry over a letter submitted by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA) to the White House COVID-19 Task Force calling for an investigation into staffing agencies for price gouging during the pandemic. It follows a September 2021 ANA letter to HHS calling for Secretary Xavier Becerra to declare the nurse staffing shortage a national crisis.

“The unprecedented demands of the pandemic place nurses in extremely difficult positions as they work too many hours, see higher acuity of care, face staffing challenges, and experience increased workplace violence,” said Cindy Zolnierek, PhD, RN, CAE, CEO of TNA.

“TNA opposes any price gouging engaged in by staffing agencies during an emergency,” said Zolnierek. “While there may be staffing agencies acting in an unscrupulous manner, this problem cannot be oversimplified. Actions taken against staffing agencies have the potential to harm travel nurses indirectly.

“The practice environment plays a major role in where nurses choose to practice. Even before the pandemic, many nurses felt underappreciated, at risk for violence, and lacking decision-making authority about their practice environments, including staffing.”

The nursing workforce is straining under the weight of the pandemic and nursing turnover and staffing shortages are widely reported. The proper solution is increasing the supply of nurses through support for nursing education, providing appropriate compensation, and improving nurses’ working conditions.

“We must shift the focus from what nurses cost to the value they bring. Only then will we invest in management practices that retain nurses and put an end to the shortages,” said Zolnierek.

We call on health care systems and private payors to join nurses in working with Congress and the Administration to find a sustainable solution to address nurse shortages. Simultaneous to those federal efforts, Texas retains broad authority to address these issues without federal action. The Texas Nurses Association is actively working with state level officials to address education barriers, improve workplace standards, and support Texas nurses as they protect the public’s health.

This press release was provided by the Texas Nurses Association.