Nursing programs struggle to keep up amid a nationwide shortage of nurses


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Notre Dame of the University of Maryland in Baltimore is among the universities to train the next wave of nursing students

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BALTIMORE – Hospitals across the country are facing a shortage of nurses and experts say the problem could get worse before it gets better.

While hospitals struggle to provide care, nursing schools are also struggling because they do not have enough teachers.


Universities across the country are seeing a surge in potential nursing student applications but they cannot keep up with the demand.

Stephania Long is a fourth year nursing student at the University of Maryland’s Notre Dame and says she always wanted to be a nurse.

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“I decided on nursing because I really want to help people, I really want to take care of them, and I think nursing is the best opportunity to do that,” Long said.

It has long been observed that health care workers are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and want to help.

“When I saw how selfless the nurses working through the pandemic were…they were risking their lives to take care of people and it made me want to give them back. So when they grow up someone And may take it for them,” Long said.

changed atmosphere

Long and her classmates say their learning environment has changed a lot since the pandemic hit, but they are still ready to get involved in the field.

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“It forced me to work really hard because I was like I had to do this for nurses who sacrificed a lot to take care of people in the midst of a pandemic,” Long said.

Francesca Sarcosta is also a senior in the Nursing program at Notre Dame, Maryland. Sarcosta says the pandemic has made her realize how grateful she was for the learning experience she had before Covid hit.

“Covid has made us really grateful for what life was like before the pandemic. We took it for granted. Sitting in a classroom with a teacher, being able to talk to our professors face-to-face everyday, and all this then That changed when the pandemic came,” Sarcosta said.

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While Long and Cercosta work to complete their nursing degrees, applications from thousands of qualified nursing students are being turned down because there are not enough teachers.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), more than 80,000 eligible applications were rejected from undergraduate and graduate nursing programs across the country during 2019-2020.

Caitlin Barley is an assistant professor of nursing at Notre Dame, Maryland and teaches senior-level nursing students.

A nursing teacher at the University of Maryland's Notre Dame.  (Jayla Whitfield / Fox News)

Barley says that hands-on learning is important for students, “they need more skills individually, of course. For students who had graduated during the pandemic and may have fallen short, they should There were experiences in the hospital during their orientation to help get them where they need to be.”

However, Barley says the problem doesn’t stop here because he needs more qualified nursing teachers to produce nurses.

“We need nurses all the time to staff our hospitals, but when we’re dealing with a pandemic and more patients than we have resources, the need for nurses really increases,” said Jau.

He said the nursing shortage is caused by a ripple effect across the entire health care system and begins with education.

“We see that the units are closed, that some beds are not staffed because we don’t have enough, that if you need and elective surgery you can wait longer, if you have more emergencies you can go to the emergency room.” So it actually affects people at home more than they think,” Barley said.

teachers wanted

Kathleen Wisser is the school-of-nursing dean in Notre Dame, Maryland, and says she is working to attract nurse teachers.

“Come back for a masters, come back for a doctorate, and be a nurse educator so we can continue to have quality education,” Visser said.

Visser says that finding teachers is one of the biggest difficulties for a person learning like clinical courses.

“A clinical course is 90 hours and so is a great deal of personal experiences within a hospital setting. We are finding some difficulty with clinical sites that ensure that our students have access to There’s some practical experience – and then it’s not just here in Notre the program is everywhere across the country,” Visser said.

While the health system works to maintain barley, say patient care will suffer if schools cannot produce enough new nurses.

“With more nurses retiring, there won’t be enough people in the hospital to care for patients,” said Jau.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 500,000 registered nurses will retire next year. In addition, more than 1 million new nurses are needed to meet the growing shortage.

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