SAN ANTONIO — Changing demographics and an adapting industry could amplify a shortage of nurses in Texas. According to a report by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the state is projected to see a shortage by 2030. State agencies, local clinics and nursing schools are planning ahead—hoping to ease the problem.
More nurses are retiring or changing careers, and growing life expectancy for those with medical conditions is leading to a higher demand for healthcare.
To help ease the burden, UT Health San Antonio has worked to get its students ready sooner and working longer. It has implemented more internship programs to get students ready for work upon graduation, and is encouraging advanced degrees to prepare nurses for management and teaching positions down the road.
"We strive to make sure the students, when they graduate, are prepared to go into a variety of roles – whether that’s a hospital setting or a community setting – and that they can be successful in those roles," said Dr. Cynthia O'Neal, dean of undergraduate studies for the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing.
In addition to efforts by nursing schools, many experts say change is needed in the overall healthcare system to retain nurses – including improving nurse –patient ratios and providing work environments with work-life balance.
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