Monday, November 10, 2008

GERMANNA BATTLES NURSING SHORTAGE BY TOPPING STATE IN GRADUATION RATE

BY KAREN BOLIPATA

The Free Lance-Star

Meaghan Gallagher inserted a syringe into a vial of medicine, careful not to withdraw more than she needed.

"Now you see the difference between giving babies medicine [compared] to adults," nursing instructor Judy Hampton told her.

Gallagher, 22, approached her patient, a toddler who wasn't particularly happy to see her.

"Can I see your arm, buddy?" Gallagher asked the squealing child.

It was Gallagher's first time doing the procedure, and Hampton, a registered nurse, stayed by her side.

In the halls of the pediatric ward of Mary Washington Hospital, Gallagher's classmates--all nursing students at Germanna Community College--had their own patients to worry about.

When they finish the two-year program, they'll help offset the nationwide nursing shortage.

"That is a crisis that surrounds us in our community," said Jane Ingalls, director of Germanna's Nursing and Allied Health Programs.

By 2020, Virginia will need an additional 22,600 nurses, according to a 2005 report released by the Virginia Community College System and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

The VCCS challenged its schools to produce 80 percent more nursing graduates to meet that need, Ingalls said.

With an 88 percent success rate in graduating nurses, Germanna is at the forefront of those efforts, followed by Lord Fairfax Community College with 85 percent.

Overall, the VCCS has a 70 productivity rate in turning out nursing graduates.

"We are so excited about the success that our efforts of enrollment and expansion and student retention" have brought, Ingalls said.

In 2002 to 2003, 817 students graduated from VCCS nursing programs, according to a press release. Last year, the number rose to 1,365.

At Germanna, about 70 nursing students graduated from the program in 2007, nearly doubling the 2005 graduating class.

The majority of Germanna nursing graduates work in area hospitals, and two new hospitals--Stafford Hospital Center and Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center--are opening in the next few years.

"In order to meet the increasing demand, we're going to need more qualified teachers, and we need space," Ingalls said.

When Gallagher graduates in May, she hopes to work at a hospital in the Fredericksburg area before finding a job at a children's hospital.

She said she's not worried about the nursing shortage.

"I think having a degree in nursing, you'll be able to find a job," she said. "There's always going to be someone needed."

3 comments:

Nurse Jen Doll said...

Nurse Jen Doll said...
The shortage of nurses is a big time problem. the problem is because of education. they put too many people on the wait list in schools. its very frustrating.

Dr. Jane Ingalls, RN, GCC Director of Nursing and Allied Health said...

We admit as many qualified nursing students as we have qualified teachers, seats in classes, and spaces in assigned clinical settings. We do not keep waiting lists, but ask qualified applicants who are not offered admission to reapply for the next appropriate admission cycle.

MikeZ said...

Germanna is currently engaged in an effort to raise funds for much needed expansion and renovation of our nursing facility and for the hiring of additional faculty members.
If we can find community backing for this, it will increase our capacity for providing learning opportunities for students, increase the number of nursing graduates we produce even further and will help offset the local shortage of nurses.