State effort hopes to ease nursing shortage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State effort hopes to ease nursing shortage

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April 28, 2006

Bainbridge- A shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Georgia has the attention of the Georgia University System. They've launched a five million dollar initiative to end the shortage. A south Georgia college with a brand new nursing programing is part of that effort.

Many students in Bainbridge College's R.N. program are already in the medical field. They see the need for nurses on a daily basis.

"When I started working at the local hospital, you can see the change in the admissions and the care of the patients has increased and the need that they have have increased as well," said Troy Fulton, R.N. Student.

A fresh crop of 50 nurses will graduate from the college in nine months. The new program is part of the initiative to put more nurses to work.

"It's not only in hospitals, it's in long term care it's in home health, it's in community settings with our goal of being health promotion trying to keep people well we see more of that community push also," said Faith Garrett, ADN Program Director.

As part of the five million dollar statewide initiative, Bainbridge will receive $39,000 in addition to the local business support for their program.

"We anticipate using the $39,000 for hiring additional staff and faculty to help with the instructional program," said Rob Gingras, V.P. Academic Affairs.

So that the college might be able to admit students twice a year, increasing nursing numbers.

"A lot of times with long term care there's kind of, you're working at a ratio, that you're right at a crunch. So if you find more nurses available, more nursing personnel the care would probably be much better," said Linda Taylor, R.N. Student.

Local hospitals are asking the college for at least a dozen nurses a year and that doesn't include the needs of local doctor's offices or nursing homes. The college is looking for more faculty and hopes to expand their program soon.

The state's University System graduates over two thousand nurses per year. The new initiative expects to increase that number by more than 400.

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