The root of the nursing shortage problem and what Louisiana leaders are doing about it

As hospitals across the nation deal with nursing shortages, leaders across Louisiana are teaming up to combat root causes of the shortage, reports CBS affiliate WWL-TV.

"The nursing turnover is really high typically in their first year of professional practice," said Jamie Wiggins, RN, senior vice president, chief clinical officer and chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital New Orleans.

The hospital, part of New Orleans-based LCMC Health, hopes to hire 75 new nurses by the end of June, and is offering incentive programs and focusing heavily on recruitment, Mr. Wiggins told WWL-TV.

The shortage isn't new, but it has been exacerbated by the pandemic, said Mr. Wiggins.

"By 2025 in New Orleans alone we're expecting a shortage of potentially 2,000 nurses if we don't do anything," said Mr. Wiggins.

However, it's not for lack of interest. Louisiana nursing schools actually reject about 1,400 qualified applicants every year.

"We're not seeing a shortage of applications," said Demetrius Porche, PhD, dean of the nursing school at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The school doesn't have enough faculty members to teach more applicants, and not because there aren't enough qualified faculty to teach, but because there isn't enough money to pay them, said Dr. Porche.

LCMC Health is partnering with Chamberlain University, an online or on-site nursing program. LCMC will pay full tuition for 90 nurses per year for three years. Those students will then spend three years at one of LCMC's hospitals upon graduation.

Louisiana lawmakers have also created the HERO Fund to help the nursing profession. Effective Aug. 1, the five-year fund will come from tax dollars, grants and donations.

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