Fighting the Nursing Shortage

By: Ann Nucatola
By: Ann Nucatola

"I really enjoy working with patients. I enjoy patient education; that's really why I got into this."

Shefali Patel is a student in the registered nurses program at Keiser College in Tallahassee.

Patel adds, "I've always wanted to go into the medical field, and nursing has so many options."

But health officials across the country say there aren't enough students like Patel to fill the current nursing vacancies, more over the expected future vacancies.

"By 2012, they're predicting a 45,000 nurse shortage in the state of Florida, and nationally they're predicting 800,000," says Belinda Keiser, Vice Chancellor of Community Relations and Student Advancement with Keiser College.

And the Georgia Department of Community Health says the current shortage is about seven percent for the state, but is projected to increase to more than 30 percent in the next four years.

A survey conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine indicates the public believes a majority of medical errors are caused the by shortage of nurses.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says school enrollment isn't growing fast enough, there's not enough nursing teachers and many current qualified nurses leave the job because they're burned out.

"A lot of qualified nurses are retiring" said Keiser.

Schools like Keiser are pushing hard to find good nursing candidates for a profession that's described as difficult, but rewarding.


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