Healthcare Industry Taking On Nursing Shortage Nationwide

This week is National Nurses Week

FARGO, N.D. — As we appreciate nurses for everything they do during National Nurses Week, there may be fewer of them working in our region.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says nurses are the country’s largest healthcare profession with nearly four million registered nurses nationwide.

“So when you have a shortage of nurses, that really affects access to care especially because much of our population is aging and becoming much more complex,” said NDSU associate dean of Nursing Carla Gross.

More baby boomers retiring and even fewer nurses around to treat an increasing amount of patients has thus created a nationwide nurse shortage.

“The volume of patients were seeing is so much greater than in history,” said Brittany Montecuollo, Sanford Health vice president of Nursing and Clinical Services.

But Gross says it’s even worse in rural hospitals.

“Probably access to education for one thing. Some of those potential nurses in rural areas very often are place bound. But we have really improved that. We have a lot more online and distance educations and programs that are going out to meet the rural needs but it’s an ongoing struggle,” Gross said.

NDSU also offers doctorate nursing students a federal grant to get clinical working experience in rural hospitals.

“We are really trying to expose students to rural nursing as much as we can because we know that’s how you get nurses out in the rural communities,” Gross said.

To help with the nursing shortage in the state, NDSU recently went from accepting 64 students in its pre-licensure BSN program a year to 64 students a semester. But the problem isn’t that there’s not enough people who want to be nurses.

“What makes it so complex is in order to educate nurses, you need enough nursing faculty, you need enough clinical facilities and the clinical facilities are becoming saturated with nursing students,” Gross said.

Not every hospital is having problems with the shortage right now though. At Sanford Health, nurses say improved facilities such as their new medical center has been a huge draw. Just last year , Sanford hired 500 nurses in the metro. And keeping those numbers up isn’t an option.

“The nurse is the one that gets to know the patient, get to know that patient’s family members, they are really the ones who make or break the experience that our patients have,” Montecuollo said.

Sanford will offer its nurses an escape room and meals for nurses all week as part of National Nurse Week.

Categories: Health, Local News