State’s hospitals working to fill out nursing staffs

State’s hospitals working to fill out nursing staffs

Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:39 pm
By: AP

JACKSON (AP) — Faced with a nursing shortage, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital officials looked to nurses from the Philippines to fill the void. Yet when the federal government stopped issuing visas to the Filipino nurses, hospital officials found themselves at a loss. While they would love to hire 240 nurses within the next year to take some of the pressure off its current nursing staff of 1,500, it’ll take more than a simple “Help Wanted” ad to lure prospective nurses to the area. Jackson General is hardly alone. The nation is facing a massive nursing shortage, one that will likely get worse. “We are about 200,000 nurses short (nationwide) now,” said Robert Rosseter, associate executive director for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “We will intensify through 2025, when we expect a shortfall of 500,000.” Jackson General needs nurses to work in the general medical/surgical nursing areas. While demand for nurses has never been higher, the supply is hardly keeping pace. Insufficient classrooms and teachers have made it difficult for nursing schools to produce qualified graduates. Jackson State Community College president Bruce Blanding says the college had to turn away hundreds of nursing school applicants because it doesn’t have enough faculty to teach. A survey of nursing schools by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported there were 767 nurse faculty vacancies at the nearly 430 universities that responded to the survey. The state of Tennessee has approved 38 new nursing programs to offset the shortage. with the state. “(They) could be traditional brick and mortar classrooms or online,” said Libby Lund, executive director of the Tennessee Board of Nursing in Nashville. Help is needed to offset overworked nursing staffs. Some hospitals have trouble retaining nurses because of poor working hours and long weeks. There’s also evidence that patient care can suffer, Rosseter said. “When there is a shortage of staff, the outcome is worse,” Rosseter said, “and mortality rates are higher.” The demand for nurses will only increase as the Baby Boom generation ages. Demand is so high already, it is difficult for some hospitals to retain staff due to stiff competition. “It is a very competitive business,” said Steve Grubbs, Regional Hospital of Jackson’s CEO. “There are recruiters calling our staff every day, trying to call them away.” ——— Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com Published in The Messenger 7.9.08

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