Oregon’s Overnight Nursing Jobs Ban Ends After 24 Hours
A state government ban on travel for Oregon’s overnight nursing jobs on Friday ended after 24 hours, with some employers saying they were still hiring for nursing jobs.
The ban has drawn criticism from nurses and health care providers, who said it is a temporary restriction and is not working to get Oregon’s nursing workforce back to full strength.
The state Department of Labor and Industry said the ban was effective from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., but some employers had already said they would resume hiring.
The Oregon Nurses Association said the new rule is not in keeping with the nurses’ commitment to keep Oregon’s workforce healthy.
The ONA said the rule, which has been in effect since Jan. 1, was created to keep workers and their families safe while the state struggles with a coronavirus pandemic.
The group said the policy, which requires employers to have a registered nurse or an advanced practice registered nurse on staff, is in violation of federal regulations.
The order is expected to go into effect Monday, but it has been criticized by nurses, health care workers and others who say it’s not working as intended.
ONA President Amy Boudreau said the nursing ban is a “total slap in the face” to Oregonians who have worked hard to get back to health.
The move will put an end to the long and arduous process of finding a job for many Oregonians, including those who have returned home to Oregon after a short stay in quarantine.
Boudaerts said Oregonians need more jobs, not less.
“We’ve been here before, and this is not how to fix the problem,” Bouds said.
“This is not what Oregonians deserve.”
Boud, a nurse, said it’s unfair to put the burden on nursing home patients and their relatives who rely on the health care system.
“There’s been an increase in hospitalizations, a higher number of people who need to be in hospital beds,” Boutre said.
She added that nurses are working to fill a void that has been left by a federal travel ban on federal employees.
She said nurses who want to work at home for free need to do so as soon as possible.
The new rule will allow workers to continue working in the Oregon Health & Science University Health System, and ONA is encouraging them to apply.
The nurses association is also encouraging employers to continue hiring.
“They will have the flexibility to hire the best nurse to work on their property, for the best pay, and for the highest level of safety,” Boutsan said.
The rule does not apply to employers who have more than five employees or employees with a certificate of nursing certification, such as nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists.
Oregon is the only state that has a temporary travel ban, but the department said that does not mean it will continue.
The department said the ONA rule is a good start to restoring Oregon’s economy and creating more jobs for the workforce.
The decision will also help restore Oregon’s reputation as a top destination for international tourism.
The travel ban is temporary, meaning it will remain in effect until the state is ready to begin enforcing the ban.
It’s been delayed several times, and a federal judge ordered it lifted on Monday, though that judge said the state would be left in the dark until the ban is lifted.
The federal judge said ONA’s temporary ban is unfair to Oregon and hurts the state’s economy.
Boutsen said Oregon needs more nurses to work in the health-care system, including for the first responders.
“You have nurses who are going to be needed on the ground, you have nurses with specialties who are being trained and who will be needed in the field, and you have people with other health care occupations who are just going to get more work and more pay,” she said.
Boutres said the travel ban does not impact Oregon’s job market, and the state has hired about 3,000 nurses since the ban took effect.
“It’s going to make a big difference,” she added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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