TAMPA, Fla. — National Nurses United held rallies across the country Wednesday pushing for safe staffing in hospitals.
A report released by the Florida Hospital Association in 2021 predicts Florida will face a shortage of 59,100 nurses by 2035.
An associate professor of nursing at the University of Tampa says the nursing shortage has been a problem for years. She says it comes in waves and right now is one of those difficult times.
Dr. Mary Ann D’Alesandro says the problem is not that students don't want to become nurses. She says the University of Tampa actually expanded their nursing program recently.
“We actually increased our enrollment from 60 students to 88 every admitting year,” she explained.
D’Alesandro says the shortage stems from what happens after graduation.
“It really does kind of fall on where they are working and the environment they are in and if they’re being appreciated for the work they are doing,” she said.
Medical professionals also say the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in escalating the shortage. A lot of nurses felt extremely burned out and a lot of them are still feeling that way.
“Are they having to do mandatory overtime, take extra on call shifts, not getting the time off that they really need,” D’Alesandro said.