WGU Indiana working to address nursing shortage

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WGU Indiana is working to address the continued nationwide shortage in nurses right now that’s been fueled by the pandemic. 

A representative the school says nurses who are at the bedside are getting fatigued, so they are trying to take some of the pressure off of them and bring in relief. 

WGU Indiana State Director of Prelicensure Nursing Lisa Eagans says a big part of getting qualified nurses into hospitals is clinical studies where they get hands-on training. During the height of the pandemic, they weren’t always able to do those in-person. 

During the clinicals, nursing students are paired with experienced nurses called preceptors. But in Indiana, those preceptors have to have three years of experience, which Eagans says might not be a reasonable requirement. 

“What we’re finding is, with the fatigue, nurses aren’t staying at the bedside for three years. They are really moving into other roles where they’re not so fatigued right at the bedside,” said Eagans. 

“We’re hoping to petition for that change. Maybe decrease it to two years. Some of our neighboring states around us, don’t even have a year requirement.” 

Eagans says an administrative group for nurses in Indiana is working to petition to change that requirement so that more nurses would be able to serve in that training role to help more students become nurses. 

“Reducing that three-year requirement down to just two years would make a huge impact. And it’s not just WGU that’s impacted by this preceptorship. It’s every nursing school within the state of Indiana is impacted by this.”

She also mentioned different programs available to help people already in the medical field upscale to get their nursing degrees. 

“We have to get creative on how we’re delivering care. And upscaling nurse skills, returning back to school for those who aren’t nurses, getting them in. We’ve got to really turn out new nurses.” 

She says anyone interested should check for programs available at their local nursing school. 

“We have new cohorts starting with WGU Indiana. But there are several schools of nursing out there that are already starting enrolling new students. So, anybody, who’s out there that’s working as a patient care tech, or they’re in the lab or another setting, or not even in health care but want to become a nurse.” 

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