What the nationwide nursing shortage means locally - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What the nationwide nursing shortage means locally

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PASCO, WA - Nursing schools nationwide are turning away qualified applicants right in the middle of a nurse shortage.

With the nurse population retiring at an alarming rate, the need for students going into the field is more necessary than ever. Program like CBC's school of nursing face a significant hurdle, where their applicant pool is stacked with promising candidates, but the manpower to accept them just doesn't exist.

With current nurse-educators aging out and retiring in droves, director Kim Tucker says the disconnect only continues to grow.

"We're in a catch-22 situation right now, nationwide, in that we have a lot of interest in nursing programs, but we're turning away a lot of nursing students that are qualified because we don't have the room and the capacity in our nursing programs to take them," Tucker said. "In Washington alone, we're expected to see 40 percent of our nursing faculty retire in the next ten years."

Current estimates show there needs to be at least one million new RN's by 2022. With only 3 million nurses working right now, fixing this issue is critical.