Local colleges, universities working to keep up nursing demand during pandemic

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As healthcare providers battle the latest wave of coronavirus hospitalizations, they are also working to overcome staff shortages.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 11 million additional nurses are needed to avoid a further shortage, and more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States.

“The bachelor’s prepared nurse that is capable of providing safe, quality care at the bedside is the number one need in the Dayton region,” said Dr. Ann Stalter, a professor, and chair of Wright State’s College of Nursing.

As the Miami Valley battles the COVID-19 delta variant, area colleges and universities are preparing those individuals to roll up their sleeves to help.

“When COVID hit of course hospitalization rates skyrocketed and there was more need for nurses because there’s obviously more patients that need the care,” said Cecilia Bidigare, associate professor of nursing at Sinclair Community College.

Sinclair is working to enroll more nursing students. Bidigare said they plan to increase the number of nursing students by 12 percent in 2022.

The college is also looking at offering a bachelor’s degree and plans increasing enrollment to meet the demand for respiratory therapists by increasing enrollment by 21 percent this fall.

Stalter said Wright State is working to meet the demand for a more diverse pool of nurses. “In 2050 alone, we expect a patient population of greater than 50 percent who are non-white and who are non-English speaking,” she said.

A survey shows that last year nursing schools saw a 6 percent increase in enrollment in bachelor’s degree nursing programs.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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