NMU students prepare to face nursing shortage upon graduation

Nursing students have mixed feelings as they prepare to enter an understaffed field.
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The United States is facing a critical nursing shortage. According to the World Health Organization, that shortage is expected to continue through 2030.

However, Northern Michigan University’s nursing program is doing well. In fact, instructor Kary Jacobson says it is actually growing.

“Even because of COVID, we haven’t really lost any students,” Jacobson said. “Our application numbers are still higher than what we can accept into the program, so it’s showing us that students are still interested in becoming nurses despite COVID and the pandemic.”

While NMU isn’t feeling the shortage, other areas are. Nursing students in their final semester have mixed feelings as they prepare to enter the field.

“Personally, I’m not intimidated by it,” said Mike Sommers. “If we’re in there and we’re short-staffed, then we’re short-staffed, but I think we’re there to get it done and to help people the best way that we can.”

Students considering leaving the region after graduation expect a difficult transition.

“There are a lot of nurses that I’ve been working with that are seeming to get a little burnt out from the understaffing, because they’re being worked so hard and have a bigger patient load that they have to deal with,” said Ben Kulik. “That scares me.”

“I am leaving the U.P., so greater patient population and less nurses in those hospitals is something to worry a little bit about,” Jeremy Randolph said. “I know this program is preparing us to do really well though, so I’m not too worried about it.”

Through all the uncertainties, all the students share a passion for nursing and caring for others, and they plan to make the best of the situation.

“It’s harder to get people to stay in the position, but that’s why I think people like me would be great,” said Brandalyn King. “I love the U.P., so I plan to stay in Marquette and work for UPHS.”

Jacobson credits the nursing faculty at NMU for the program’s success, as well as the hands-on experience students receive from local nurses.

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