Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate – Media, 610-740-3790



Experts Available on Tuesday, June 13, 2006, During Visit from Ghanaian Nursing School Founders

Allentown, PA (June 12, 2006) – A recently-passed Senate immigration bill included a provision that would pave the way for an influx of foreign nurses from places like Africa and the Philippines to help address the nursing shortage in the U.S. While this provision has been widely overlooked throughout the heated immigration debate, it is stirring frustration and anger in the countries from which the nurses are leaving. For organizations such as the American Nurses Association, it is also raising questions about why the U.S. is looking abroad rather than bolstering its own nursing programs.

Two Cedar Crest College nursing educators are available to share their insight and opinions about the possible concrete and ethical ramifications of this issue. Both professors traveled to Ghana in November 2005 where they witnessed first-hand the effects of the exodus of nurses and what the Ghanaian government and healthcare leaders are trying to do to stop what has been called the "brain drain" of their nurses and doctors.

Nancy DalPezzo, R.N., Assistant Professor of Nursing: "The immigration of nurses from developing countries to the U.S. and western Europe has been a big problem, even without passage of the new immigration law. Developing nations are very sensitive to the problem; Ghana has lost almost 50% of their doctors and nurses over the last few years. While I was in Ghana, I was asked, point blank, why my country was stealing all of their nurses."

Sandra Leh, R.N., Assistant Professor of Nursing: "Yes indeed, the U.S. has a nursing shortage – only 782 registered nurses per 100,000 persons. But Ghana has only 72 registered nurses per 100,000 persons. The rise in nursing program enrollments across the U.S. demonstrates that many want to enter the nursing profession. What a shame that thousands of potential nursing students were denied entry into these programs last year due to a shortage of nurse educators."

To set up an interview or to learn more about Professor DalPezzo and Professor Leh's views about this issue, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790 or email abenner@cedarcrest.edu.


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