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State lawmakers to address nursing shortage in Louisiana

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Healthcare workers have been hailed over the past year for their efforts to aid in the pandemic, but as COVID remains an issue, hospitals are also dealing with a desperate need for nurses across the state.

"We have many open positions. Many contract nurses are here," said Coletta Barrett, Vice President of Admission with Our Lady of the Lake.

Before the Pandemic, the state's nursing shortage was projected to quadruple by 2025, according to the Louisiana Hospital Association.

"As nurses in our state, we've been trying to increase our numbers and improve the number of people that can go into a nursing school," said Lesley Tilley, Vice President of Operations with OLOL.

As our state's nursing shortage worsens, Louisiana's nursing schools are forced to reject more than a thousand qualified nursing school applicants each year.

"We have incredible demand from the healthcare industry for quality nurse graduates. At the same time, we have a large demand from students who want to become nurses, but because of capacity issues we have to turn away 1,400 to 1,500 students for clinical spots every year," said Dr. Jim Henderson, University of Louisiana System President.

Tilley says not only is there a need for nurses across the nation, but Louisiana has an increasing need.

"We have challenges with instructors and folks that can help provide the type of education that new nursing students need."

State lawmakers have passed Senate Bill 229 to provide money for increasing nursing schools' capacity to train more nurses.

That bill is on the way to the governor's desk.


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