“Higher education was struggling to keep up with the skyrocketing demand for nurses even before the COVID-19 crisis.”
It sounds like students with a nursing degree could write their own ticket right now.
Despite High Demand For Nurses, Colleges Aren’t Keeping Up
At a time when the pandemic has exposed a growing shortage of nurses, it should have been good news that there were more than 1,200 applicants to enter the associate degree program in nursing at Long Beach City College.
But the California community college took only 32 of them.
North of here, California State University, East Bay isn’t enrolling any nursing students at all until at least next fall.
Higher education was struggling to keep up with the skyrocketing demand for nurses even before the COVID-19 crisis. Now it’s falling further behind.
Health protocols are limiting in-person instruction. Nursing teachers are quitting in large numbers, while others are nearing retirement. Hospitals are stretched too thin to provide required hands-on clinical training. And budgets are so constrained that student nurses are forced to buy their own personal protective equipment, or PPE.
“What worries people, if COVID continues on and takes its toll, is will people still enroll in nursing programs?” asked Peter Buerhaus, a nurse, economist and professor at Montana State University who studies the nursing workforce.
All of this is only amplifying the existing demand for nurses.
Estimates of the problem vary dramatically, from a projected shortage of 510,394 registered nurses nationwide by 2030, based on a formula used by scholars at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and elsewhere, to a predicted shortfall in some states by then but a surplus in others, according to federal forecasts.
Experts agree, however, that shortages will be worst in the West and South.
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