Healthcare shortages causing a need for qualified nursing instructors
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The shortage of healthcare workers continues to be felt as the demand for nurses and other qualified workers increases.
The demand has been steadily growing over the years, but the field was hit hard by the pandemic as it saw many qualified workers leave out of concerns for safety and overwhelming workloads.
In December 2021, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order declaring the critical shortage of providers an emergency.
With baby boomers retiring and needing medical care, the system is feeling the strain from the pressure to provide quality care to the population.
However, hospitals and clinics are not the only facilities being affected by the lack of nurses.
Nursing schools are being affected as the lack of nurses translates to a lack of experienced program instructors.
These faculty shortages, in turn, limit the student capacity of any given school during a time when there is a critical need for professional registered nurses and clinical staff.
WKBO spoke with Dr. Angie Harlan, R.N., the Dean of Allied Health and Nursing at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College about how the shortage affects nursing schools.
“You’ve got to have people going into nursing to not only be out to practice but to become educators who can then help educate more students and turn them out,” said Dr. Harlan.
The nursing program at SKYCTC’s Glasgow campus was recently recognized as the top registered nurse program in the state while their Bowling Green campus was ranked number three. Each school’s rank is determined by the rate at which students pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This test is required for all nursing students to receive licensing to practice as a nurse.
“We have calls continuously, not only from our area but from places that are hours away seeking our nurses because they need them,” Dr. Harlan said.
Currently, both programs are fully staffed and have added 20 slots for new students at the Bowling Green campus.
“Nursing is a rewarding career, there’s something different every day,” said Dr. Harlan, “At the end of the day, you’ve made a difference in a person’s life when they couldn’t take care of themselves, or their families were struggling.”
Nursing schools are looking into ways to attract more students to enter the field.
One of the methods being used is getting into high schools and explaining to students where they need to focus their studies.
The cost of getting into nursing school is another barrier that some students may face.
Numerous healthcare scholarships are in place to help students get into nursing and allied health programs. Some medical facilities are even sponsoring students to attend school.
If you are interested in becoming a healthcare worker, reach out to your local nursing program for more information.
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