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Nursing schools see an increase in applications despite COVID burnout

Storrs, Connecticut – Nurses across the United States are burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and resignation, but apply for a nursing school because educators say they are young people who see global emergencies as opportunities and challenges. is increasing.

Among them, he was considering majoring in education, but decided to take care of him after a nurse took care of his 84-year-old grandmother, who was diagnosed last year. I have a sophomore Brianna Monte. I had cancer again with COVID-19.

“They exchanged protective equipment among all patients and ran crazy to ensure that all patients were seen,” she said. “I had that clear moment, so I wanted to jump into healthcare right away and join the frontline workers.”

Nationally, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree enrollment in nursing programs increased by 5.6% year-on-year to just over 250,000 students, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. I did.

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Current school 2021-22 figures are not available until January, but admins say interest continues to skyrocket.

The University of Michigan Nursing School reported that it acquired about 1,800 applications in 150 freshman slots this fall, compared to about 1,200 in 2019.

Marie Nolan, Executive Vice President of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has the largest number of applicants to date, despite fears that COVID-19 may scare students. He said he was applying before the vaccine became available. ..

Students at these and other schools can gain valuable hands-on experience during a pandemic, perform COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and work in local vaccination clinics.

“We told our students,’This is a career opportunity that we will never see again,'” Nolan said.

Emma Champlin, a freshman nursing student at Fresno State University, Fresno, said she, like many of her classmates, sees a pandemic as an opportunity to learn and apply critical care skills. And she was young and had a good immune system, she said, “so the idea of ​​getting the virus didn’t scare me.”

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“It’s time for us to intervene and do our best to understand how we can help, because we need a new generation and it has to be us.” 21 years old said.

Higher enrollment may help alleviate the nursing shortage that existed even before COVID-19. But it brought with it its own problems: leaving behind the inability to expand many nursing programs, coupled with the turnover of too many experienced nurses whose job is to help train students. rice field.

This rise is happening even though hospital leaders across the United States have reported that thousands of nurses have resigned or retired during the outbreak. Many of them know that dying care pressure, hostility from patients and their families, and many deaths can be prevented by masks and vaccinations.

Eric Cumor saw many of his colleagues in the COVID-19 unit nurse in Lansing, Michigan, take a transfer or other job this spring when the third wave of the pandemic began. He chased them outdoors in July.

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“It was like this massive escape. Everyone chose their health and wellness over dealing with another wave,” he said.

He said he plans to return to health care someday, but for now he works at a barbecue joint, where the worst thing that can happen is “burning brisket.”

“I haven’t finished nursing yet,” he said.

Betty Jo Rocchio, Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Health, which operates hospitals and clinics in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, has about 8,500 nurses in her system, but about every month. He said he had lost 160 people.

Departures also make their sacrifice in nursing education that relies on clinical instructors and instructors, experienced and hands-on nurses to guide students at work.

Patricia Hahn, director of the University of Michigan Nursing School, is expected to shrink by 25% nationwide by 2025 as nurses retire or retire due to burnout and other reasons.

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Mindy Siebler, a cardiac nurse in Vancouver, Washington, taught nursing students for three years before leaving in 2016. She still wants to teach, but said it wouldn’t work financially. She said she knew a nursing professor who did multiple jobs and was absorbed in retirement savings.

“How long can I subsidize my work?” She asked. “Nurses double what you make in just a few years from the gate.”

Managers said they wanted more financial incentives, such as tax cuts for instructors and leaders. Rocchio said it would also help to obtain a national license rather than a state-by-state requirement, giving the medical system more flexibility in training and employment.

Champlin, a student at Fresno State University, who is currently conducting clinical research in the COVID-19 ward, said stress was sometimes overwhelming, even for students. Wearing cumbersome protective equipment each time someone enters a room and seeing a tube inserted into the frightened patient’s throat and connected to a ventilator is physically and mentally Also tired.

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“I don’t even know when it will stop,” she said. “Is this a new normal? At this point the horror is gone and now we are all exhausted,” she confessed. “It sometimes made me rethink my career choices.”

According to Hahn, the pandemic has given the school a new focus on student mental health and created programs such as “lawn yoga.”

“For nursing, we need to develop resilient skills to adapt to high-load conditions,” she said.

Monte, whose grandmother survived, said she believed the pandemic was weakening and wanted to have a long career in any challenge.

“They are now in this shortage of nurses. It’s good for me, as I don’t have a hard time finding a job wherever I go,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m going to have burnout in the event of another emergency. I feel like I’m still devoting myself to nursing.

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Associated Press writer John Seewer from Toledo, Ohio contributed to the story.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Nursing schools see an increase in applications despite COVID burnout

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