One quick perusal for Google news and you’ll see dozens of articles from all across the country warning that the current nursing shortage is real, and that it’s only going to get worse.
In Texas and Florida, the state legislatures are being called upon to fix the problem, and local stories from Connecticut to Green Bay, WI, to Phoenix, AZ show that communities everywhere are worried about the problem.
But what’s behind this? Nursing is almost always near the top of best careers to have, so why are people not interested in it? Well, the answer is, that they are, but we don’t have the resources to train them.
Here’s a portion of an article from the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colorado that explains the situation very well:
In the last go-round of student applications in March, Aims Community College’s Associate Degree Nursing Program had the highest number of potential students to date.
That might sound like good news in light of the nationwide shortage of registered nurses, but here’s the sticking point: Of the 100 applicants for the two-year program, 89 were qualified but only 26 were accepted for fall 2018, said Rik Englebert, director of nursing education programs at Aims.
A similar scenario is playing out at the University of Northern Colorado’s School of Nursing. Once the flood of applicants is sorted, there are two qualified candidates for every classroom seat, said Faye Hummel, director of UNC’s School of Nursing and Banner Health Endowed Distinguished Professor.
Getting into nursing school in Colorado — and anywhere else for that matter — can test a candidate’s patience, often requiring two or more attempts, Englebert said. As a result, prospective students often grow frustrated and pursue other career options.
Hummel concedes that UNC’s reputation for being difficult to get into without a high GPA was in fact a thing. That changed three years ago when the school switched to a holistic application process that includes an essay and standardized testing in addition to a GPA of 3.0 or better. The school graduates 108 students annually.
In 2016, U.S. nursing schools turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs because of an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
So 64,000 people were turned away from nursing programs in one year alone???
One would think that online nursing schools would help alleviate the problem, but students still need a place to do their clinical trials and to learn from doctors and nurses in the field.
It sounds like expanding the nursing programs at many state colleges and possibly even opening new nursing schools would help alleviate much of the problem, but in the constant battle over what to spend taxpayers’ dollars on, you’ve got to wonder how much worse this is going to have to get before it gets better.
Let’s hope not much more.