INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposed loosening of Indiana’s regulations on nursing education programs is advancing in the Legislature, with supporters saying the step is needed to help address a statewide nursing shortage.

Hospital officials and health care organizations supporting the proposal have told legislators that thousands of nursing jobs are open across the state in a shortage exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indiana House could vote in the coming days on approving the bill that would nursing schools to increase enrollment and hire more part-time instructors. Community Health Network’s chief nursing officer told lawmakers that hospitals and nursing homes across the state have some 4,000 nursing jobs open.