New Aiken Tech partnership aims to ease nurse shortage

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Over the past few years, we’ve seen a shortage of nurses after the pandemic and other issues at hospitals across the country.

Aiken Technical College is partnering with Grand Canyon University to create a program aimed at getting more students degrees and ultimately into the field.

Leaders say once students get an associate’s degree, it will take about nine extra months to get a bachelor’s.

Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in less than three years.

Students enrolled in the program say they’re excited about having a shorter path to their goals.

Pamela Wilson works in the medical field and has a family. She says this program will make advancing her career easier.

“We’re moms. We have jobs, so we want that flexibility. This will allow us to achieve our goals at a much faster pace,” she said.

Another student has been a nurse for nearly 30 years. Now, she’s hopeful this program helps her accomplish a long-time goal.

Beverly Best said: “Being out in the field for as long as I have been, I’ve wanted to go back and get my RN. It’s always been kind of a personal goal.”

The program allows students to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing online. But it’s about more than just balancing work, life, and school. It’s also helping with the nursing shortage.

Dean of Nursing Dr. Hannah Williams said: “Almost every hospital in the CSRA, I know they’re looking for qualified candidates to come work.”

Piedmont Augusta is one of those hospitals that knows the impact of the nursing shortage firsthand, saying there could be 100 positions open at once.

Leaders hope this can help get more qualified nurses through the doors.

Williams said: “A lot of times in a hospital setting, the goal may be to have a certain number of bachelor’s prepared, or BSN prepared nurses. This program will help meet the need of bringing more nurses into the field.”

Williams says having a bachelor’s degree can also help create additional opportunities for nurses in hospitals, as they are also knowledgeable in research and public health.

The students who are already nurses say they’re also excited about the possibility of combatting the nursing shortage.