Addressing the North Dakota nursing shortage

Longer wait times, fewer resources, more hours and more pressure. Nurse practitioner Tara Brandner who works in the rural community of Ashley, says she's seeing all of those issues due to a nursing shortage.

“We are short, it's just with retirement, turnovers that's why we are short,” Brandner said.

The issue is being felt across the state.

“We are indeed in a crisis in North Dakota,” Stacey Pfenning, the Executive Director North Dakota Board of Nursing said.

According to that organization, there's a 13 percent shortage of nurse practitioners and a 7 percent shortage of registered nurses. Pfenning says anything above 5 percent is considered critical.

But for months now they've been working on how to address the situation.

“We have a great action plan that we are bringing forward today and tomorrow and we're hoping to get even more ideas from the nurses here today and tomorrow to help us create more nurses,” Pfenning said. “How can North Dakota get more nurses?”

Brandner says they're working with colleges to get more nursing students into rural areas during clinicals, hoping to get them excited about working there. For now though, they're focusing on patients and patient care until the crisis passes.

“We are still looking out for them, it's patient centered, everything is always patient centered and we're doing the best we can with what we have, with what resources we have,” Brandner said.