Colleges Seek Out Nursing Shortage Solutions in Texas and Virginia

With a severe nationwide shortage of 1 million nursing looming in 2012, colleges and hospitals are taking steps and coordinating events around the common goals of helping students succeed in nursing.

At the University of Texas, faculty at the health science center recently hosted a workshop for about 75 local professors to give them concrete examples of what nursing students are expected to know after completing their science coursework. The hope is that nurse educators, and professors will adequately prepare students for a lasting career in the nursing field. During one panel, three students shared stories of how they struggled through nursing school. One had dropped out of high school and the other two had babies. All are minority women, who make up a small percentage of registered nurses. Professors in the audience asked questions about whether they preferred traditional or nursing degree online programs, what kind of grade point average would get students into the nursing program, and what they could do to make microbiology more relevant.

With Virginia also in the grip of a nursing shortage, faculty at Piedmont Virginia Community College is attempting to raise funds to start a new nursing program. The program for licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, would cost about $195,000. PVCC President Frank Friedman said the funds needed was for direct costs only, and not overhead. Most of the price tag would come from the cost of faculty. He said he did not expect a state budget increase large enough to cover the cost, and so officials will approach the localities and hospitals in PVCC’s service area.

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