Oregon nurses plan for working closer with, guiding interns


Shane Ersland


Oregon nurses discussed plans for an initiative that will enable them to work closer with and further guide interns during a meeting Wednesday.  


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The Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Nurse Staffing Advisory Board discussed provisions of House Bill 4003, which was passed on April 1st. The bill directs the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) to issue nurse internship licenses to qualified applicants. Interns will perform nursing services subject to certain limitations in health care facilities under the supervision of registered nurses.

Intern applicants will be students who have completed at least one academic term of a nursing education program.

“The nurse intern can qualify after one term of nursing school with a clinical component,” OSBN Executive Director Ruby Jason said. “Not all [nursing] programs have a clinical component during the first term.”

Interns will gain experiences that will prepare them for the fast-paced nature of nursing as they work under the guidance of their peers.

“The whole intent of the nurse internship program is to do a work study; for them to start practicing their skills while still going to school,” Jason said.

There are still some unanswered questions regarding the bill’s provisions and implementation, including how the initiative will affect staffing reports. OSBN is currently recruiting for a rule advisory committee to consider and write these rules, Jason said.

“We usually take three or four months to write a rule,” she said. “We’re starting early on this one.”

The bill also authorizes a health care workforce committee to study, identify, and describe challenges in addressing nurse staffing shortages. The committee will be organized by OHA, Jason said. It will be required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to a legislative assembly committee by Nov. 15.

“The board has been asked to participate by providing subject matter experts regarding regulation,” Jason said.

The bill also includes funding for a wellness program that will promote the well-being of nurses through education, counseling, and telemedicine services. It will allow nurses to receive services offered by a designated nonprofit organization.