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Nearby states, population growth strain Idaho’s nurse supply

File photo of a nurse (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ Officials with the Idaho Department of Labor say the state continues to experience pockets of severe nursing shortages while better paying jobs in surrounding states are attracting Idaho’s nursing graduates.

According to a recently released report from the department, southwestern Idaho faces the biggest challenge of finding enough nurses because it’s nestled in the state’s fastest growing region with the highest aging population.

Meanwhile, the competition over health care workers has also tightened in northern Idaho due to its proximity to the Washington border, a state concurrently facing a nursing workforce deficit.

Idaho’s median wage for nurse practitioners ranked last among its six other surrounding states and ranked second to last for registered nurses, coming in higher only to Utah. Idaho’s nurse anesthetists have the fourth highest median wage compared to neighboring states.