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Nursing-Critical Shortage Areas
pediatric nurse
When Senate Bill 331 passed during the 2001 Legislative Session, the Oregon State Board of Nursing and the Oregon Office of Rural Health were tasked with defining "nursing-critical shortage areas." The bill allows some nurses who practice in these areas to have a portion of their student loans paid for by the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.
Although critical nursing shortages exist in all parts of Oregon, the bill was aimed at the frontier and rural areas of the state. Nursing-critical shortage areas, and their specialty priority rankings, are as follows:
Priority 1: Frontier Counties (Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Wallowa and Wheeler.)
Priority 2: Rural Counties (Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Hood River, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wasco and Yamhill.) Also included are some areas of Benton, Clackamas, Deschutes, Jackson, Lane, Linn,  Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties that are 40 or more miles outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Click here for a map.
Priority Specialties within Priority Areas: Public health (County Public Health and Outpatient Health District Clinics); acute care; nursing education (including community colleges and universities); and, long-term care. For example, a RN who signs an agreement to work in Public Health in a Frontier County would have priority over a nurse wanting to work in a non-priority specialty or area.