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Due to COVID-19, more and more young people want to be nurses

Despite the exhaustion resulting from painstaking care in the pandemic, there is an increase in applications for tuition in the United States. The reasons behind the phenomenon

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Why the interest of young people in the United States to study nursing in times of pandemic increases (REUTERS / Stevo Vasiljevic)

Nurses across America are suffering burnout and quitting, but tuition requests are going up, driven by young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge.

Among them is Brianna Monte, 19, who had considered studying education but chose nursing after seeing nurses care for her 84-year-old grandmother, who suffered from COVID-19 last year and also suffered from cancer.

“They were putting on and taking off their protective suits, running like crazy from one patient to another, trying to make sure everyone is being cared for,” he explained. “I had that moment of clarity that made me want to go into healthcare and join the workers on the front line.”

Nationally, enrollment in nursing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs increased 5.6% in 2020 from the previous year to just over 250,000 students, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Figures for the 2021-2022 school year won’t be available until January, but administrators say they have continued to see increased interest.

The University of Michigan School of Nursing reported receiving 1,800 applications for 150 positions this fall, compared to about 1,200 in 2019.

Marie Nolan, vice dean of the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the school had its highest number of applicants in history, many of them even before a vaccine was available, despite her fears that COVID-19 will scare off candidates.

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Nursing Personnel Prepare To Apply The Pfizer Vaccine To National And Foreign Citizens In Panama (Efe / Carlos Lemos)

Students at those other schools have been able to gain valuable first-hand experience during the pandemic, doing coronavirus testing and contact tracing, and working in community vaccination clinics.

“We’ve told students, ‘This is a career opportunity that you’re not going to have again,’ Nolan warned.

Emma Champlin, a freshman nursing student at Fresno State University, believes that like many of her classmates, she saw the pandemic as an opportunity to gain and apply skills. And she says that she is young, with a good immune system, “so the idea of contracting the virus did not scare me”.

Enrollments in nursing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in the U.S. increased 5.6% in 2020 over the previous year

“It is time for us to take the step and give it our all and learn how we can help because there has to be a new generation and it has to be ours,” said the 21-year-old.

Enrollment Rises May Help Alleviate Pre-COVID-19 Nurse Shortage. But it has created its own problems: The increase, combined with the departure of more experienced nurses whose job it is to help train students, has left many nursing programs unable to expand.

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The University Of Michigan School Of Nursing Reported Receiving 1,800 Applications For 150 Positions This Fall (Efe / Rayner Peña / File)

The rise occurs even as thousands of nurses have resigned or retired during the pandemic, many of them exhausted and demoralized by the pressures of caring for the dying, hostility from patients and families, and the frustration of knowing that many deaths were preventable. with the use of masks and vaccines.

Eric Kumor saw many of his colleagues in a COVID-19 unit in Lansing, Michigan, transfer or accept other positions last spring, when the third wave of infections began. He followed in her footsteps in July.

“It was like a mass exodus. Everyone chose their own health and well-being rather than having to deal with another wave,” he said.

He specified that he plans to return to the health sector one day, but for now, he is working in a barbecue restaurant, where the worst that can happen is “burning a rib of meat”.

“I have not finished with the infirmary,” he added.

Betty Jo Rocchio, a top official at Mercy Health, which runs hospitals and clinics in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, said her system has about 8,500 nurses but is losing 160 each month.

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It Is Also Observed That Thousands Of Nurses Have Resigned Or Retired During The Pandemic (Dark Room)

The resignations are taking a toll on nurse education as well, which relies on clinical instructors and preceptors, the seasoned nurses who mentor students on the job.

The number of nurse instructors is expected to decline by 25% by 2025 nationwide as nurses retire or leave for burnout or other reasons. predicted Patricia Hurn, Michigan’s dean of nursing.

Mindy Schiebler, a cardiac nurse from Vancouver, Washington, taught nursing students for three years, before resigning in 2016. She added that she would like to continue teaching, but that it is not financially viable. She says she knows of nursing professors who work multiple jobs or use her retirement funds.

“How can you subsidize your own employment?” He asked. “Nurses earn double what you earn in a few years.”

Administrators say they would like to see more financial incentives such as tax breaks for instructors and tutors. Rocchio stated that it would also be beneficial to have a national license rather than state-by-state requirements, giving our healthcare systems more flexibility to train and hire.

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A Nurse Prepares A Dose Of The Vaccine Against Covid-19 (Efe / Bienvenido Velasco)

Champlin, the Fresno student who is now conducting clinical studies on a COVID-19 ward, says that stress, even in students, is sometimes overwhelming. It is physically and mentally exhausting to wear protective gear every time you enter someone’s room and see a tube inserted down their throat while the person is still attached to an artificial lung.

“I don’t even know when it’s going to stop. Is this the new norm? I think the fear has passed to this point and now we are simply exhausted.” And he confessed: “That made me reconsider, at times, my career”.

Hurn noted that the pandemic has led to a new focus at his school on student mental health, leading to the creation of programs such as “Yoga on the Lawn”.

“For nursing, you have to develop the ability to be resistant, to adapt to high-stress conditions,” he explained.

Monte, whose grandmother survived, thinks the pandemic is subsiding and hopes to have a long career, no matter the challenges.

“There is this shortage of nurses now, which, selfishly, is good for me, because I will not have problems finding work, wherever I decide” – he concluded – “I feel that I am not going to burn out, even if we have another national emergency. I think I will continue dedicated to nursing”.

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    Written by Christina d'souza

    Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.

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