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Greater Lafayette community 'desperately' needs nurses

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Local hospitals and doctors offices are trying to stop the bleeding when it comes to the nursing shortage.

"We are facing a severe nursing shortage right now," said Anita Reed, 

Coordinator of Admissions at the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing.

Across Indiana, more than 4,000 nursing jobs remain unfilled. 

"Nurses, during the COVID pandemic, are burnt out and have left the positions," Reed said. "Nurses are needed, desperately, to care for the clients in our community."

Nicole Adams, clinical assistant professor of nursing at Purdue University, said it's a decades-old problem highlighted recently by the pandemic.

"It also created a crisis situation in hospitals that has never been seen. ... When we don't have the surge capacity and we ask nurses to take double the number of patients that they're comfortable providing care to, that only exacerbates the rate at which they burn out," Adams said.

A new law lets nursing schools like St. Elizabeth increase their enrollment to meet the huge need.

"Absolutely, we are looking to grow," Reed said. "We don't have a cap right now on the number of students we can accept and we have available opportunities for this fall 2022 semester."

St. Elizabeth is hosting an Information Day Friday for people considering a career in nursing.

"You can do all kinds of things but nursing is compassion and caring for others," Reed said.

Other programs statewide are also growing their enrollment, and officials hope a new wave of nursing graduates take root in Indiana.

"Our students are encouraged if they choose to also be employees of Franciscan Health and have their foot in the door as they progress through our program and then opportunities for employment at graduation," Reed said.

Information Day happens from 1-3 p.m. Friday at the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing, 1501 Hartford Street in Lafayette.

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