Nursing homes welcoming immigrants into their workforce – Bay News 9

As the nursing home staffing crisis continues, industry insiders are embracing a push by the White House to welcome immigrants and refugees into their workforce.

Industry leaders participated in a virtual roundtable hosted by the White House to discuss the role immigrants, in particular Afghan refugees, could play in easing the long-term care staffing shortage.  The administration’s effort to resettle Afghan refugees is called Operation Allies Welcome.

“Our national association took part in the roundtable discussion about that topic and really availed ourselves to be a place where individuals who are refugees who are coming and looking for a new start, we could provide those career opportunities for them,” said Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for the Florida Health Care Association, which represents the majority of nursing homes in the state.

It’s a concept Knapp says is already in play, with immigrants from a number of different countries already working in facilities across the state.

Susanne Reichert is a registered nurse who works the overnight shift at Manor Care Health Services, a nursing home in Palm Harbor.

“My mom used to tell me when I was a little girl, I always liked to help people,” Reichert said.

And that’s exactly what she’s doing here in the United States. Reichert is an immigrant from Germany, who moved here isn 2018 with two decades of nursing experience already under her belt.

Her skills are very much in demand here, with the long-term care industry still struggling through a major workforce crisis.

A recent survey by the American Health Care Association shows 99 percent of nursing homes nationwide report staffing shortages and 86 percent say the problem has only gotten worse over the last few months.