TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Currently, there is a shortage of nurses in hospitals that are being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, but enrollment numbers are increasing for nursing schools in East Texas.
“Nurses are really front and center in the news almost daily, certainly weekly. I think that there is a growing awareness among college going people that nursing is a really good career option,” said Elizabeth Olivier.
Dr. Barbara Haas, the dean of nursing at UT Tyler, mentioned there has always been a high demand for their nursing program. But, this year interest has skyrocketed.
“As of this fall, we had a 20% increase over last fall. We had 354 applications, and we were able to admit 190 so (we had) about a 53% acceptance rate,” she said.
According to the nurse journal, although enrollment has increased, it’s not keeping pace with the demand of nurses needed.
Texas ranks second among states having the lowest concentrations of nurse employment compared to national nurse employment.
“With the rise in COVID patients and the complexity of the situation, it’s putting a lot of stress on our nurses, and some are leaving the field while others are coming in,” said Olivier.
Kayla James, a nursing student at Stephen F. Austin State University, stated it has always been her dream to be a nurse, and she wants to encourage anyone on the fence, to go for it.
“If it’s something that, you know, you’re thinking about doing, just do it. You know, if you’re even thinking about doing it and being that person for someone in their darkest time. I think you should do it because if you’re even just thinking about it that means you have a passion for it,” said James.