Originally published on WACH Fox 57 - August 6, 2021
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Everyone knows how this pandemic has put a strain on healthcare workers. It's exacerbated the already growing shortage of nursing and nursing instructors.
The problem starts here: more than 80 thousand nurses were turned away from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs across the nation in 2019, all because of a shortage of nursing instructors, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
“It’s not very lucrative for nurses to go into the university to teach. The pay is not that great, it’s a lot better in the high schools, so they have a shortage of educators and that kind of is a domino effect,” said Katrina Haynes, a teacher at Cyber Academy of South Carolina.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said by 2030 South Carolina will be the state with the 4th highest nursing shortage.
“COVID is not helping the shortage as is. Nurses are getting burned out just like teachers, just like everyone,” said Haynes.
Another reason, the University of South Carolina said fewer nurses are enrolling in doctoral programs to become teachers. They said 54 percent of nursing teaching staff in the state is 51 or older and we’re losing about 60 faculty members a year to retirement or other reasons. That's bringing fears there won’t be enough teachers in the coming years. That also affects nurses who also teach at high schools
“CTE I teach, Career and Technology, we normally have a big turnover for teachers because they’re teachers who come from the industry into teaching and oh yeah the turnover is worse than ever,” said Haynes.
Haynes said getting students interested in healthcare when they're teens is critical.
“It’s to get students pumped up about going into healthcare or whatever it is we teach. That’s hard too with COVID because we’ve not been able to do hands-on things with students,” said Haynes.
She said more has to be done to promote healthcare education and recruiting before it’s too late.
“Nurses don’t want to come teach in high school if the pay is so much lower than what they make in the industry. That’s true for a lot of CTE teachers,” said Haynes.
To learn more about Cyber Academy of South Carolina, visit casc.k12.com.