Local University is prepared for national nursing shortage


ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- There’s a nursing shortage in the United States. Like many regions in the nation, the Permian Basin is affected by it.

However, UTPB is prepared to help grow the number of nursing professionals and fix the overall problem.

Thousands of people apply to nursing schools each year. Although many of those applicants are perfectly qualified to be accepted, they’re instead denied entry.

That is, in part, why the nursing shortage is happening, and it shows no signs of letting up.

UTPB showed ABC Big 2 News what other schools in the nation should ease the burden.

Dr. Donna Beuk, a nurse, is the Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Performance at UTPB.

Some of Dr. Beuk’s research focuses on the dwindling number of nurses in the country.

“The nursing shortage is not something that’s new,” said Dr. Beuk. “The profession has been looking at and working towards this for over a decade.”

Nursing professionals like Dr. Beuk say the decade was spent, partly, being proactive. Because future generations depend on it.

“To the best of our ability, I think we are preparing,” said Dr. Beuk. “In 2010, the institute of medicine put out the future of nursing and so we really noticed that there was a projected peak in 2025 of the nursing shortage. And it was based on the aging population across America as well as the baby boomers starting to retire.”

ABC Big 2 then asked why nurses aren’t replaced as quickly when they leave the industry.

“We turn away many hundreds of thousands of qualified applicants to schools of nursing because we are very limited not only to the seats that we have available to qualified applicants but we are also limited by our availability and clinical rotation slots,” said Dr. Beuk.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, 11,000,000 more nurses are needed to avoid worsening the shortage.

They also say employment opportunities for nurses are expected to grow at 15% faster than all other careers through the next five years.

Dr. Beuk says there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We are a revolving door as you mentioned, however, we replace,” said Dr. Beuk.

She is leading the charge locally to attack the national problem head-on.

The fact that the profession knew this would happen years ago, they know what they’re up against today.

“Anytime a new obstacle comes up, we are collaboratively working together to address it as much proactively as we can rather than reactively,” said Dr. Beuk.

Dr. Beuk adds that she doesn’t want to alarm anyone. In fact, she encourages anyone who wants to become a nurse to follow their dreams– they should apply.

She adds that nursing is a calling, and if you really want to be one, there’s a space for you in the career.

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