Texas facing shortage in Nursing

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Level 1 nurse Ashley Goode gives a deltoid injection to a patient while Level 1 nurse Nicholas Garza observes in Dr. Valerie Noel’s Professional Nursing Competencies class Oct. 4 in the nursing complex. The injection was for intramuscular medication. The nurses were practicing medical administration — oral, intramuscular, subcutaneous and insulin. The nurses were also practicing how to mix long acting and practice insulins for patients. With 70,000 vacant nursing positions because of baby boomers and old nurses retiring, Texas will have to fill those spots by 2020. There are 600 applicants for the nursing program at this college, but fewer than 100 are accepted. Photo by Aly Miranda

Level 1 nurse Ashley Goode gives a deltoid injection to a patient while Level 1 nurse Nicholas Garza observes in Dr. Valerie Noel’s Professional Nursing Competencies class Oct. 4 in the nursing complex. The injection was for intramuscular medication. The nurses were practicing medical administration — oral, intramuscular, subcutaneous and insulin. The nurses were also practicing how to mix long acting and practice insulins for patients. With 70,000 vacant nursing positions because of baby boomers and old nurses retiring, Texas will have to fill those spots by 2020. There are 600 applicants for the nursing program at this college, but fewer than 100 are accepted. Photo by Aly Miranda

How SAC prepares their students for the Medical workforce?

By Bismarck D. Andino

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Level 1 nursing student Daniella Martino observes Level 1 nursing student Angela Larkin measure air in a vile in Dr. Valerie Noel’s Professional Nursing Competencies class Oct. 4 in the nursing complex. To get the correct amount of pressure in the vile of insulin, students have to measure how much air is in the vile.  Photo by Aly Miranda

Level 1 nursing student Daniella Martino observes Level 1 nursing student Angela Larkin measure air in a vile in Dr. Valerie Noel’s Professional Nursing Competencies class Oct. 4 in the nursing complex. To get the correct amount of pressure in the vile of insulin, students have to measure how much air is in the vile. Photo by Aly Miranda

As the population grows, so does the demand for the nursing workforce, Stella Cirlos, director of the department of nursing education, said Sept. 16 in an interview.

As retirement approaches for more baby boomers and older nurses, Texas’ supply of RNs will not meet the demand by 2020, according to a projection from the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies in 2006.

The shortage is estimated to be 70,628 full-time equivalent RNs. The demand has increased by 123,003 since 2005. As aging nurses retire, hospitals will need to fill those vacancies, according to the report.

The department of nursing education at this college has 21 faculty members, 14 adjuncts and 300 students enrolled. Each semester, the program accepts fewer than 100.

The conditional admission to the program is based on a standardized entrance exam, Test of Academic Skills; grade-point average; previous education; and work experience.

“We had 600 applicants, and we admitted less than 100,” Cirlos said.

The program is costly, textbooks are expensive, and today’s economy makes it hard on students to get in these programs, she said.

Since the population of San Antonio is rapidly increasing, Cirlos believes that it’s essential to have enough nurses to care for patients.

However, she recognizes that it’s a hard field, not for everybody, and that students need to have a vocation for it.

“It’s a hard profession, very hard to pass, and to get your license, so we try to teach them that it’s a privilege and to take care of it, and always do the best that they can do for their patients and for quality care,” she said. “That’s all it is.”

Cirlos also said students are being prepared to enter the workforce at acute care centers, such as Baptist, University, and Methodist health systems where patients need the most care.

Nursing students have training and work with nurses in these hospitals.

In addition, students not only work on campus but also volunteer for projects in the community, she said.

From blood pressure to glucose monitor screenings, students work closely with people with diabetes and talk to patients about how to stay healthy, drink water, walk, and eat the right kind of diet, Cirlos said.

She invites students interested in applying to the program to plan ahead, ask questions and have a Plan B.

“Start planning which courses you need to take, what certifications, how long it’s good for, and how much does it cost,” she said.

“Sometimes you’re assigned to go to clinicals at the University Hospital health system or the Mission Trails on the South Side, so we ask all students to have the transportation to go anywhere within Bexar County,” she said. “And sometimes that’s kind of hard because the bus line doesn’t always reach every area quickly.”

Students can apply for fall 2017 Nov. 11-Jan. 17, and for spring 2018 June 1- Aug. 31, 2017.

To obtain a list of courses needed as prerequisites, visit the nursing education department in Room 378 of the nursing complex or call the department at 210-486-1144.

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