Number of Nursing Vacancies Growing in Peach State

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Nursing students at Southwest Georgia Technical College say they're working towards a job they love in a field they know needs them.

But nursing student Joy Batchelor says she knows there are many others like her, on the outside looking in.

Batchelor says, "Students are just in line waiting. They're wanting to be nurses, but they're not able to be a nurse."

A report by the Georgia Hospital Association shows that state nursing programs are turning away thousands of qualified applicants because they don't have the money to expand their programs.

Faculty at Southwest Georgia Technical say this lab built to serve 25 students currently has twice that many working out of it.

Dr. Marcia Posey, RN, Program Director says, "There are many, many, many students that qualify, but there are no space for the students."

At Archbold Memorial, hospital executives say they're addressing the nursing shortage by reaching out top local nursing programs.

Archbold Human Resources Vice President Zach Wheeler says, "With Southwest Georgia Technical College and Thomas University, we help fund these programs through direct grants, and we're also helping with faculty stipends."

But Wheeler says today's nursing shortages unfortunately may be only getting worse.

"More nurses are retiring and it's just the perfect storm, and just going forward we're going to need a lot more."

It’s a need many nursing programs throughout the Peach State would be eager to help meet if only they had the funding to do so.

This report also shows the vacancy rate for registered nurses in Georgia hospitals is more than eight percent, about a third higher than the national vacancy rate of six percent.