Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
May 11, 2016

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356 or leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Nurses – Commitment, Compassion and Care
National Nurses Week is Through May 12

Lincoln— Nurses play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of Nebraskans. Their commitment, compassion, and care are invaluable to the quality of life we enjoy each day. There are 37,750 licensed nurses in Nebraska and almost 400 work at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, but that’s not enough.

“We know nurses are needed all across state including right here at DHHS,” said Courtney Phillips, DHHS CEO. “We’ve worked hard to improve our nurse licensing process by simplifying applications, streamlining screening and providing a quicker turnaround time, all of which helps get new nurses into the field faster.” 

DHHS reviewed its processes and procedures for nursing applications last fall and found there were opportunities for improvements including:
  • Nebraska’s nursing applicants experienced challenges with applications and instructions.
  • The application processing time was lengthy.
  • A high amount of applications arrived with errors or without supporting documents which leads to longer processing time.  

DHHS nurse licensing improvements:

  • Simplified applications and clearer instructions. Previous applications had a first time completion rate of almost 28 percent.  From February through April, the first time completion rate increased to 95 percent.
  • Nursing students can now submit applications 60 days prior to graduation to kick start the process. Then after graduation and passing the nursing exam, DHHS will finish processing their license. Submitting applications prior shortens the total time frame for nurse licensing.
  • Starting June 1, nursing applicants will submit fingerprints directly to the Nebraska State Patrol instead of sending them to DHHS and then DHHS forwarding them to the State Patrol. 
  • More online resources including frequently asked questions that provide clear direction for applicants and set realistic expectations.
  • Voice-automated routing system to direct callers with application questions to appropriate areas.
  • Outreach to nursing programs and students about the application process.
“We have seen improvements in turnaround time for our graduates applying for licensure. Graduates being licensed sooner translates into transitioning into the workforce sooner to contribute to quality patient care,” said Dr. Aubray Orduna, Dean of Nursing, Clarkson College.

Nurses are crucial to the success of the DHHS and helping people live better and healthier lives. DHHS nurses work in many different roles across the agency including:
  • Promoting public health
  • Caring and advocating for patients in our regional centers and the Beatrice State Developmental Center
  • Conducting surveys for safety and compliance
  • Reviewing and verifying licenses
  • Working with America’s Heroes at our four veterans’ homes
  • Finding solutions for Medicaid clients
  • Caring for students at our Youth Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers
  • Assessing, coordinating and providing care to some of Nebraska’s most vulnerable citizens
DHHS is hiring for LPNs, Directors of Nursing, Nursing Assistants, RNs and Nurse Managers in multiple locations across the state. To learn more about nursing opportunities, visit http://statejobs.nebraska.gov/.
 
-30-