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Anne R. Bavier: Texas Faces an Acute Shortage of Nurses | Dallas Morning News

Sarah McIlvaine
Author | Shield HealthCare
06/20/16  4:46 PM PST
nursing shortage

This opinion piece in the The Dallas Morning news was written by Anne R. Bavier, dean of The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation. Anne describes the extent of the national nursing shortage, which has hit Texas particularly hard. She then goes on to discuss what she is personally doing to help solve the problem, and details what future actions must be taken to end the shortage.

It’s a good time to be a registered nurse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 430,000 additional registered nurse jobs will be created in the next decade. The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies estimates that demand for registered nurses in the Lone Star State will rise 86 percent by 2020.

Americans consistently rank nursing the nation’s most trusted profession, Gallup polls show.

Tens of thousands of people will graduate with nursing degrees this month. About 56 percent of these new graduates will land jobs within six months, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. That figure is twice as high as the job placement rate for all other college graduates, the association says.

But this optimism is tempered by the fact that our nation continues to face an acute nursing shortage. There are not enough seats in the nation’s nursing schools, too few faculty members to serve students and a shortage of clinical practice sites. According to the National League for Nursing, 41 percent of undergraduate nursing programs don’t have enough practice sites…

Many nursing schools are working diligently to tackle the shortage. At The University of Texas at Arlington, for example, we have created access for baccalaureate and master’s degree seekers by significantly expanding our online nursing programs while also maintaining our academic standards…

But nursing schools can’t tackle this crisis alone. We must forge stronger partnerships with national health organizations, health care firms, government agencies, school districts and civic groups. Partnerships with public school districts and civic organizations engaged in wellness activities, such as nutrition education and breast cancer awareness, could provide more opportunities for clinical sites for nursing students.

Simulation programs that are meticulously designed and executed can ease clinical placement shortages. But simulation programs are expensive, and partnerships with healthcare firms and other organizations could help nursing schools offset the costs.

Until we take bold steps to reframe our various approaches to nursing education, focus faculty on teaching and build partnerships, the steps taken thus far by nursing schools such as UT Arlington will be just that – steps.

Anne R. Bavier is dean of The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation and president of the National League for Nursing. Email: Olalekan.oguntoyinbo@uta.edu

Read the full story at the Dallas Morning News.

Shield Healthcare celebrates the hard work nurses do everyday, by sharing their stories. Read the story of a dedicated home health nurse here.