News 12 This Morning / Wednesday, May 10, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- As the medical community celebrates National Nurses Week, some are focused on a potential problem facing the industry.
That problem is the nursing shortage, which the bad economy actually helped ease. More nurses chose to stay on the job to ride out the bad economy. Once they are ready to retire again, the College of Nursing predicts a major shortage.
Debra Marranci starts her day by scrubbing in, along with being a charge nurse who makes sure surgeons have everything for the day ahead. She also takes care of the patients going into surgery.
"It's a very hard job, but I love it," she said.
It's a job Marranci has been doing since 1984 when she followed in her grandmother's footsteps.
"I watched her; she absolutely loved it," Marranci said.
Now her own daughter and future daughter-in-law are following in her footsteps.
"I feel like I've done my job in encouraging other girls to go into this profession," she said.
Lucy Marion, dean of the College of Nursing at Georgia Health Sciences University, says they've been battling the shortage for at least a decade.
As baby boomers get ready to retire, the problem will get worse. There's another shortage blocking more future nurses from graduating -- not enough educators.
"The greatest shortage is in faculty," Marion said.
The staffing shortage forces places like GHSU, along with other nursing schools, to turn away potential students who meet the minimum requirements to get into the program.
"The consolidation between GHSU and ASU nursing program will give us opportunities, and we'll be more efficient," Marion said. "They bring a different perspective -- many of those faculty members have had to teach a lot of different areas."
Marranci says she just hopes future nurses have every opportunity she did.
"I think if you have a passion for taking care of people and that you want to be rewarded in the end for the care that you give and have a caring spirit, that nursing is great profession," Marranci said.
The College of Nursing has a nursing workforce study group that is made up of educational leaders like deans and directors. They are trying to come up with more solutions to recruit more educators and solve the shortage problem before it gets worse.
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