Lincoln, NE – Today, twenty leading healthcare and educational organizations announced the creation of the Nebraska Healthcare Workforce Collaborative, a group uniting to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in Nebraska. The Workforce Collaborative was initiated by the Nebraska Hospital Association (NHA) and the Nebraska Rural Health Association (NeRHA).

“Nebraska is facing a serious health care workforce crisis and there is no way to overcome the crisis without collaboration and investment,” said Jeremy Nordquist, President of the NHA, who serves as Co-Chair of the Workforce Collaborative. “This challenge is too big for one organization or one school to solve on their own. Our goal with the Nebraska Health Care Workforce Collaborative is to develop long-term health care workforce solutions by sharing accurate information about current and future health care workforce needs and strengthening the health care education pipeline in Nebraska.”

Workforce continues to be the most pressing issue for our hospitals and health care providers. According to the Nebraska Center for Nursing, Nebraska will experience a workforce shortage of 5,435 nurses by 2025. Seventy-three of Nebraska’s 93 counties have less than the national average ratio of registered nurses to patients. Sixty-six of Nebraska’s counties have been deemed medically underserved. Nine counties in Nebraska have no registered nurses and four counties have just one registered nurse. Recruitment and retention of health care professionals has long been a persistent challenge for rural providers.

The shortage of primary care services has detrimental effects on the overall health of rural populations. For example, health outcomes in rural areas are significantly lower compared to more densely populated regions. Additionally, while clinical care shortages exist across the care continuum, the shortage of behavioral health and substance abuse professionals in rural populations is immense. Clinician shortages are difficult to fill as rural hospitals find it challenging to recruit and retain qualified practitioners.

“Workforce needs remain a high priority for our state’s rural hospitals and clinics,” said Jed Hansen, Executive Director, Nebraska Rural Health Association (NeRHA), who also serves as Co-Chair of the Workforce Collaborative. “The NeRHA is excited to partner with the NHA on this initiative. The Workforce Collaborative understands a vibrant healthcare workforce equals a healthier Nebraska. Working with many of Nebraska’s health care professional groups and higher education centers, we aim to break through traditional barriers and present real solutions to Nebraska’s policymakers.”

The Nebraska Healthcare Workforce Collaborative began initial meetings in October of 2022. The participating organizations have been focused on gathering current data about the health care workforce, identifying gaps in the workforce, and aligning educational programs to meet the health care workforce needs today and in the future. In addition, the Workforce Collaborative has discussed a number of state policy solutions.
“A strong rural Nebraska requires a strong health care workforce,” said Nordquist. “We must act now to meet the growing health care needs in Nebraska.”

“The Nebraska Healthcare Workforce Collaborative is a proactive approach to addressing Nebraska’s healthcare workforce shortage.  All but two counties in the state have been designated by the State of Nebraska as shortage areas for at least one type of primary care specialty and fifty-eight of our counties are designated shortage areas for family physicians. We know that we have a physician shortage so the Nebraska Medical Association looks forward to being part of this Collaborative to help support the collective efforts to address Nebraska’s healthcare workforce shortages by identifying solutions that maximize our higher education programs to meet the needs across the state.”     – Amy Reynoldson, Executive Vice President, Nebraska Medical Association

Nebraska Healthcare Workforce Collaborative Participants

Nebraska Hospital Association (Co-Chair)
Nebraska Rural Health Association (Co-Chair) Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska Bryan College of Health Sciences
Clarkson College
Creighton University
Health Center Association of Nebraska
Metropolitan Community College
Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations Nebraska Center for Nursing
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nebraska Community College Association
Nebraska Health Care Association
Nebraska Medical Association
Nebraska Methodist College
Nebraska Nurses Association
Nebraska Pharmacists Association
Nebraska State College System
University of Nebraska Medical Center
University of Nebraska System