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Dear Editor:
The registered nursing shortage is generally perceived by the medical industry as being much worse than the 126,000 cited by the Latour report. Not only is this country in need of substantial numbers of nurses, but virtually all of the countries in Europe and the Middle East as well. This makes recruitment to the US much more difficult as we are competing with countries that allow much easier access to registered nurses, both in effort and time.

INS, in its wisdom, acts as a bulwark against quality health care. Despite the fact that most critical care nurses require much more than an entry -level education in order to do their jobs, at least the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree, the INS insists that most critical care RNs are not considered to be professional. ICU nurses, CCU nurses, emergency room nurses and operating room nurses, all of whom require years of training above their entry-level degrees, are not considered professional and are denied H-1B visas.

In fact, even supervisory nurses with administrative duties, a classification that INS has conceded should be granted H-1B visas, are denied the visas on the flimsiest of grounds. INS searches for reasons to deny these nurses critical to the care and health of our communities. It is almost as if there is a terrible game being played at INS, "deny the visa", with the losers being the children, adults and elderly paying the price with their lives because of inadequate care.

The immediate need for nurses could be ameliorated by INS's acceptance of the need that most hospitals have for registered nurses with baccalaureate degrees in critical care units. The law is clear that professionals can be brought in. Legislation is not required. Simple common sense would suffice.

Charles A. Grutman
President, Pilot Employment Agency II, Inc.


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