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Experts Weigh In On Arizona Nursing Shortage


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12news.comPublished May 9, 2024
By Jade Cunningham

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Arizona could be down 30,000 nurses by the end of the year. Experts expect it to get worse.


Phoenix – There’s a nationwide nursing shortage, and Arizona is primed to face its most severe ramifications.

An analysis was done a few months back from the National Center for Health Workforce, predicting Arizona will see a shortage of nearly 30,000 registered nurses by 2025. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing also anticipates one-million nurses will retire by 2030.

“We have known there would be a nursing shortage for more than 20 years,” said Arizona College of Nursing Associate Provost, Amber Kool. “Back in 2010 the nursing workforce and Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization came out and said we’re going to lose nurses. We’re going to lose nurses due to retirement; we’re going to lose nurses due to the natural life cycle of the career.”

Kool says the problem is complex and creates a snowball of issues. Not only would a lack of RN’s create longer wait times in medical offices and emergency rooms, it would also increase burnout among nurses and make it more difficult for patients to ultimately get needed care.

“That’s where we have to come together with clinical partners and look at solutions,” Kool said. “There are a lot of variables impacting the workforce shortage so how can we partner better with clinical sites and support one another.”

With a lack of nurses in rural communities, it also may force patients to travel long distances, possibly to a facility already overburdened by a lack of nurses.

“We can’t let this keep snowballing,” Kool said. “I think getting creative with strategies of ratios and clinical sites is another option. One of our target initiatives is not just hospital based clinicals. We know healthcare isn’t focused necessarily just on hospital we have to look at the community, we have to look at population-based options. And so trying to find a clinical sites that will help support the nursing program but at the end of the day it’s those strong partnerships.”

Kool says some nursing schools nationwide are seeing a lag in enrollment. However, some, including the Arizona College of Nursing, are seeing enrollment numbers stay up with a high success in completion rate. Others also have extensive wait lists. Kool says nursing education is beneficial in many ways, but it’s important the school focus on resiliency.

Nursing Program teacher with student on campus “So from an education perspective what we need to focus on is how to build resiliency in nursing students,” said Kool. “When we have new graduate nurses and they leave after one year or oh, they’re burnt out after one year it’s not really after one year because they’ve been in nursing school for 2, 3 or 4 years and that’s a very intense program. And if we aren’t focusing some of our curriculum, some of our strategies on grit, resilience, on coping mechanisms, on how to support them or self care, so when they go into the workforce they’re prepared for that and they have those mechanisms, that can lead to burnout.”


Information in this post is accurate as of .