Healthcare Part VII – Nursing Shortage Part 2

Colleges fail to curb nursing shortage
Too few teachers means half of applicants turned away

Karen Bouffard / The Detroit News

WYANDOTTE — A faculty shortage and lack of money have Michigan’s 53 nursing schools turning away half of their applicants, exacerbating a looming shortage that some fear could close operating rooms in the next few years.

Amid high unemployment and a drive to re-educate the state’s work force, nursing school applications in Michigan nearly doubled to 16,000 in the past three years. But roughly half are denied or put on waiting lists for up to two years, as state officials scramble to avoid a shortage of 18,000 nurses predicted by 2015.

The crunch has some sounding alarms about the quality of health care as baby boomers reach retirement.

“If you’re short 18,000, that’s an absolute crisis,” said Jeanette Klemczak, the state’s first chief nurse executive, appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2004 to develop a plan to stop the shortage. “If we don’t have those nurses, we’re going be in a dire situation. We’ll find ourselves with closed operating rooms and less hospital beds available to patients. It will slow down the whole delivery of the health care process.”

The problem is nationwide, but the crunch is acute in Metro Detroit. Wayne County Community College has 933 students on waiting lists, while Oakland Community College turned away 300. At Henry Ford Community College, 7,000 students list nursing as majors but the school can only admit 340 per year…………………… [see for the full article].

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This problem has been obvious for more than a decade, but our (nationwide) university system, and especially our state-funded schools, are busy cranking out majors for which there are no jobs. This is a major resource allocation problem.