Local medical professionals say there's a shortage of bedside nurses
The need for nurses across the state of Tennessee is growing.
A recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services predicts a shortage of nurses by 22% in 2030.
Jan Keys, the Senior Vice President Chief Nurse Executive at Erlanger Health System, said this shortage is nothing new.
She said the health care system across the country has been experiencing a shortage of nurses for years.
"It's just the retiring of the nurses, the baby boomers are now retiring they are going out so as we are replacing those nurses, you're not replacing them a lot with experience, you're replacing them with the newer nurses," Keys said.
She said the shortfall is due to a variety of factors including a vast range of opportunities.
"Prior to 2010, nurses went to nursing school and pretty much went to a hospital or clinic and work but that's not true anymore, nurses can go to insurance companies, a lot of retail places," Keys said.
Angel Collier, associate director of UTC's School of Nursing said some students don't understand the demand of the job.
"Its a 24-7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year career and some people when they go into it they do not realize that that actually means weekend, nights, holidays, on-call," Collier said.
Keys said nearby nursing programs like the one at UTC tends to be a pipeline for recruiting new nurses.
She said Erlanger Health System works to provide attractive incentives.
"Looking at ways to help them if its paying tuition reimbursement, all these different avenues, that will help attract your nursing students and keep them and kelp retains them too so it's a continual process," Keys said.
However, she said the need for bedside nurses remains a challenge.
"Nurses are being graduated, they're graduating nursing school," Keys said. "They are just not going to the bedside as they did in the past."
According to data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the average salary for a registered nurse is $60,122 in Tennessee. The average salary for a nurse practitioner is $96,433.