Despite COVID burnout, applications for nursing schools are increasing

Storrs, Connecticut (Associated Press)—Nurses across the United States are exhausted and resigned due to the COVID-19 crisis, but applications for nursing schools are increasing, as educators say that young people consider global emergencies For an opportunity and a challenge.

Among them is Brianna Monte, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She is from Mahopac, New York. She is 19 years old. She has been considering majoring in education, but after seeing nurses take care of the 84-year-old who was diagnosed last year After her grandmother, she decided to choose a nursing major. Have COVID-19 and have cancer.

“They change protective gear between each patient, run frantically, trying to make sure that all patients are taken care of,” she said. “I have such a moment of clarity that makes me want to directly enter the healthcare field and join the front-line staff.”

Nationwide, the enrollment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing students in 2020 has increased by 5.6% over the previous year, reaching more than 250,000 students. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Data for the current 2021-22 school year will not be available until January, but managers say they continue to see a surge in interest.

The University of Michigan School of Nursing reported that it received approximately 1,800 applications this fall, applying for 150 freshman places, compared to approximately 1,200 in 2019.

Marie Nolan, Executive Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that although she is worried that COVID-19 will scare away students, it has seen the largest number of applicants ever, many of them It was applied even before the vaccine came out.

Students in these and other schools gained valuable practical experience during the pandemic, conducted COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and worked in community vaccination clinics.

“We have said to the students,’This is a career opportunity you will never see again,'” Nolan said.

Emma Camplin, a first-year nursing student at Fresno State University, said that, like many of her classmates, she sees the pandemic as an opportunity to learn critical care skills and apply them. She said that she was still young and had a good immune system, “so the thought of contracting the virus did not scare me.”

The 21-year-old said: “It’s time for us to step in and go all out and figure out how we can help, because there must be a new generation, and this must be us.”

Higher enrollment rates may help alleviate the shortage of care that existed even before COVID-19. But it also brings its own problems: the increase in the number, coupled with the departure of too many experienced nurses who are dedicated to helping train students, has caused many nursing programs to fail to expand.

Although hospital leaders across the United States report that thousands of nurses have resigned or retired during the outbreak, many of them are exhausted and morale due to the pressure of caring for the dying, the hostility of patients and family members, and the frustration of work. Down, this rise is still happening. Know that many deaths can be prevented by wearing masks and vaccinations.

This spring, when the third wave of pandemics began to hit, Eric Kumor saw many of his nursing colleagues in the COVID-19 department in Lansing, Michigan, transfer or accept other jobs. In July, he followed them out.

“It’s like this mass exodus. Everyone has chosen their own health and wellness, rather than coping with another wave,” he said.

He said he plans to return to health care one day, but he is currently working in a barbecue restaurant, where the worst thing that can happen is “sirloin”.

“I haven’t finished nursing work yet,” he said.

Mercy Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Betty Jo Rocchio runs hospitals and clinics in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. She says her system has approximately 8,500 nurses, but is losing approximately 160 every month Nurse.

Resignation also has an impact on nursing education. Nursing education relies on clinical lecturers and mentors, and experienced practical nurses guide students in their work.

Patricia Hurn, Dean of the Michigan State College of Nursing, said that as nurses retire or leave due to burnout or other reasons, the number of nursing staff across the country is expected to decrease by 25% by 2025.

Mindy Schiebler is a cardiac nurse from Vancouver, Washington, who taught nursing students for three years before resigning in 2016. She said she wanted to continue teaching, but it was not financially feasible. She said that she knows nursing professors who do multiple jobs or use retirement savings.

“How long can you subsidize your work?” she asked. “The nurse will double your income in a few years.”

Managers said they would like to see more financial incentives, such as tax breaks for teachers and mentors. Rocchio said this will also help to obtain state permits instead of state-by-state requirements, giving the health system more flexibility in training and recruitment.

Champlin is a student at Fresno State University and is currently conducting clinical research in the COVID-19 ward. He said that even as a student, the pressure is sometimes overwhelming. Every time you enter someone’s room, you have to put on heavy protective equipment, and then watch a tube inserted into the throat of the frightened patient, and then connect the person to the ventilator, which is physically and mentally tiring.

“I don’t even know when it will stop,” she said. “Is this the new normal? I think its horror has disappeared at this point, and now we are all exhausted.” She admitted: “This sometimes makes me reconsider my career choices.”

Hearn said that the pandemic gave her school a new focus on the mental health of students, which led to the creation of courses such as “Yoga on the Lawn”.

“For nursing, you must develop the skills to adapt to high-stress conditions,” she said.

Monte, who survived her grandmother, said that she believes that the epidemic is fading and hopes to have a long career regardless of challenges.

“They do have this kind of care shortage now, which is selfish to me because I can easily find a job no matter where I decide to go,” she said. “I don’t think I will be exhausted, even if we encounter a national emergency again. I think I will still be committed to nursing.


The Associated Press writer John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio contributed to this story.

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