Triad colleges and universities seek to boost pipeline of nurses as staffing shortages continue during pandemic


(WGHP) – As hospital systems continue to be pressured by the COVID-19 pandemic, Triad’s nursing programs are helping to boost the pipeline of potential employees.

Projections show North Carolina could be short of about 12,500 registered nurses and 5,000 licensed practical nurses.

A partnership between the University of North Carolina and the NC Nursing Board has highlighted Winston-Salem as an area potentially facing one of the largest RN shortages in the state.

At the University of North Carolina Greensboro School of Nursing and Davidson-Davie Community College, the pandemic has made it harder for students to complete the clinical hours needed to graduate.

Students work in simulation labs to complete their experience.

“We have a model hospital wing. We have an intensive care unit. Two beds. We have a mother/baby unit and we have a home environment,” said Audrey Snyder, associate dean for experiential learning at the UNCG School of Nursing.

At Davidson-Davie Community College, there’s a realistic pharmacy and state-of-the-art microscopes that you’d find in a medical lab.

Dean of Health Sciences, Holly Myers, provides students with additional opportunities to gain hands-on experience.

“In the long term, we are looking to improve our learning opportunities. We plan to create internships for all of our health sciences programs. We will also consider applying for scholarship grants for students in health science programs,” Myers said.

The UNCG has no shortage of candidates for its program. Both schools need more faculty to lead classes and clinics.

“One thing we try to do is have flexible clinical hours so people who work in an industry can serve as our clinical instructors or adjunct instructors at times that are convenient for them,” Myers explained.

Snyder also works to build the resilience of future nurses to prevent burnout and keep them at the bedside longer.

“It’s one thing to take a student through a program to pass their board exams, but we also want to see them succeed when they enter the nursing workforce, and the skills they can learn as part of their nursing program can be continued,” she says.

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