HAVILAND, Kan. (KSNW) — More than a million. That’s how many registered nurses are needed in the next eight years, according to a new study. One Kansas college now stepping up to fill the gap.
Barclay College was granted approval by the Kansas State Board of Nursing for its Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is waiting on the green light from the higher learning commission. Kim Hansen, the dean of nursing at Barclay, said there aren’t enough nursing programs in the country.
“We will need approximately 200,000 new nurses each year to meet this unending shortage of nurses, and unfortunately, to make matters worse, in 2020, 80,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs in the United States,” said Hansen.
While the nursing shortage impacts the entire country, Wade Richard, the marketing manager of Gove County Medical Center in Quinter, said it’s an extra challenge getting nurses into rural communities.
“We’ve had to change our tactics. We’ve had to change where we’re advertising. We’ve had to change also the way that we’re advertising, which could involve direct mailers, which we just did one of those,” said Richard.
The medical center currently has four open nursing positions. Sonya Cap, the chief nursing officer, said some of their staff are reaching retirement age. They are working on getting local students interested in health care.
“Just rural areas in general. How do we get the kids that grow up here to go off to college and want to come back,” said Cap.
“Our hope is that, by growing our own, as they say, students that live in rural communities and go to school in rural communities typically stay there, so that is what we are trying to promote,” said Hansen.
Hansen said one big difference for rural nurses is they have to be trained for all fields of practice instead of specialties like in more urban communities. The college hopes to have its first class of students studying a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in the fall of 2023.