Nurses: A National Shortage

A look at options for potential candidates Another Local Option For Would-Be Nurses

By Tabitha Yang 

Responding to the severe shortage of nurses, Keiser College has started a two-year Associate of Science in Nursing program that began enrolling students in January. Its first class of 12 will graduate in August 2007.

{mosimage}A member of that first class is Erin Casebonne, a 27-year-old mother of an 11-month-old little girl. Casebonne said she wanted to become a registered nurse even after getting a job as a medical assistant, and that when she heard about Keiser’s nursing program, she jumped at the opportunity to live out her dream. After she graduates, Casebonne said, she plans to work as an RN in a fast-paced emergency room.

The college’s second class – a full complement of 24 students – began in August, and Keiser plans to graduate 48 nursing students each year in Tallahassee thereafter. The total cost for the two-year program is about $22,000. During training, students participate in hands-on experience in the on-campus, state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms. They also take part in off-site clinical rotations in major hospitals and other medical settings.

Keiser College is the fourth school in Tallahassee to offer a nursing program. Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College currently offer nursing programs. However, because of the shortage of nursing faculty, they can accept only a limited number of applicants. During the spring term, TCC was able to admit only one-third of those who applied. Keiser’s new program will allow more people to get the training they need to become qualified nurses.

Both locally and nationally, the lack of trained nurses has prompted hospitals to employ a number of strategies to attract nurses, ranging from free sodas to bonuses of several thousand dollars. Some hospitals even are recruiting nurses from the Philippines, Canada and other international locations. According to projections released in 2004 from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs top the list of the 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002 through 2012.

Categories: Health