Thomasville-- Being a nurse in any capacity is a difficult occupation these days. "Currently you have to carry a lot of dual rolls as a nurse because there is a shortage," says recent Thomas University graduate Mary Weber.
And while we've been hearing about this shortage for years, it might surprise you to learn nursing schools across the country turn away thousands of applicants.
"It's the nursing faculty shortage that's exacerbating the nursing shortage at the bed side. We simply don't have enough nursing faculty to teach all of the people that want to become nurses," said Nursing Division Chair at Thomas University, Susan Otto.
Wednesday, the very first class, 10 students graduated from Thomas University's Masters of Science and Nursing program. "Some of these people might go on and continue to be professors rolls at some point in their careers," said Dr. Gary Bonvillian, president of Thomas University.
Otto added, "Our students can become faculty members at associate degree and bachelor programs in the state and really anywhere in the country."
It may not be a large number, but it's a start. "Our enrollment has really grown dramatically in the past two years. We started with six students in January of 2006 and we currently have 29 students in the program, so that's just remarkable growth in a short period of time and says a lot for the quality of the program," said Otto.
Weber says her ultimate goal is to one day educate other nurses. "I'm a nurse fan, I love nursing. I think its a great career field and I love to be involved in promoting nursing." Educators say that mentality is just what's needed to solve the nursing shortage.
The masters program at Thomas University allows students to follow a track of nursing education or nursing administration. Professors say several of the graduates are already actively pursuing faculty positions.