LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The University of Bellarmine has announced that it is advancing the start of a program designed to alleviate a nursing shortage.
The program, where people with a bachelor’s degree in other industries can go back to school and complete their nursing degree in one year, has been around since 1998. However, Bellarmin added a start date in January and has increased the normal number from 30 places available to 50 to respond to the problem.
Members of this class will be able to apply for a license from their state board of nursing by the end of 2022.
âStarting the January (session) would help us integrate more nurses into the workforce,â said Lori Minton, program director. âMany of our nursing students come from across the country for our one-year program. Many of them will return to their states, but also many of them will stay here in Kentucky. “
Kentucky Nurses Association CEO Delanor Manson told WAVE 3 News Kentucky had a shortage of nurses before COVID-19, but the pandemic has made matters worse. She said many Kentucky nurses are exhausted and are leaving the state to work in higher-paying regions and states, including places like Texas, California and New York.
“Nurses; nursing students, they have loans, they have student loans, they have mortgages, and if they can make a lot of money in a very short time, do we deny them that? opportunity? “asked Manson.” The answer is no. “
However, when nurses move to other states, Manson said it creates more problems for the communities they leave behind. After speaking with leading nurses in Kentucky, he said there was a staffing shortage of about 12-20% in public hospitals. In addition, there are fewer nursing teachers in nursing schools.
The problem was so serious last year that 500 places at a Kentucky nursing school were left vacant because there was no one to teach the classes.
In a statement last month, the American Nurses Association urged the federal government to declare the nursing shortage a national crisis, writing: âThe ANA is deeply concerned that this severe shortage of nurses, in particular in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases, have long-term repercussions on the profession, the entire healthcare delivery system and, ultimately, on the health of the nation.
Manson believes the state must be able to educate more students to become nurses and find ways to retain them; Bellarmine University’s accelerated nursing program could accomplish both. He suggested that health systems and health services could use nursing students to their advantage and hire them to work in clinics while they work to graduate.
âIt would help students gain expertise, and it would also help the health department,â Manson said. âI’m talking about creative ways of looking at staffing where we need nurses to work.
There is no “quick fix”, however. Manson said employers should start offering more competitive wages to keep nurses in Kentucky, get retired nurses back to work, offer shorter shifts, create plans for support staff and listen to the concerns of their employees.
The application process for the Bellarmine Accelerated Nursing Diploma Program takes four to six weeks. Learn more about the program, explore financial aid options, and apply by clicking here.
UofL has a similar program which lasts 15 months. To find out more, click here.
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