Nursing shortage expected by 2022 - FOX29 Lake Charles

Nursing shortage expected by 2022

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(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC) (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC) (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

It's a profession that's growing every year, but still, it's lacking workers. And soon, it could be seeing one of the largest shortages in history. 

The profession is nursing. 

SOWELA's nursing program knows the shortage is coming, and they are working to train and prepare students for the many nursing jobs out there waiting on them.   

"I love it," said student practical nurse, Trevor Conley. "I love coming to school." 

Growing up Conley had dreams of becoming a doctor, but like many, those dreams eventually changed.

"I thought about it for a long time, and I figured that's not for me," he said. "It would break my heart if I didn't go into nursing." 

But Conley is concerned about the future of nursing. 

"It kind of bothers me a little bit, but I'm not really worried," he said. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing field is expected to grow 19 percent with over one million job openings available by 2022, creating a huge shortage. 

"It seems like it cycles around, and as the population ages we're getting more and more short of nurses because the nurses are aging as well," said RN coordinator, Valarie Waldmeier. 

One reason for the shortage is nursing school enrollment. 

Waldmeier said the nursing program has grown and has the resources students need like a simulation lab. 

"We have all of this technology," she said. "We have computers in every room, we have cameras so we can really hone skills." 

But becoming a nurse isn't easy. 

"Nursing school's not for sissies," said Waldmeier. 

It's hard for colleges to attract instructors, who take pay cuts when they leave nursing to teach students. 

"Our salaries are not really compensatory with what an RN can make out in the hospital or in the community," said Waldmeier. 

But while the health care workforce begins to prepare for the future, one thing is for sure, a good nurse will always be in demand. 

"We need people in the profession that are compassionate, and want to do the hard work and want to get their hands dirty and not just be a number," said Waldmeier.

She said one of the key ways to combating this shortage is educating high school students about the nursing field. 

SOWELA offers dual enrollment for high school students, and has also partnered with McNeese to help nursing students obtain both an associate and bachelor degrees in the nursing field. 

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