National Nursing Shortage Not Present In Wiregrass

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

Nurses are in high demand across the nation. Most hospitals are reporting major shortages in their medical staff, but in the Wiregrass that trend does not hold true.

Wallace Community College is seeing its highest enrollment numbers ever for students looking into the medical field and those students are directly affecting staffing levels at Wiregrass hospitals.

Kathy Buntin with Wallace Community College-Dothan said, "We have a shortage and it is getting better but we have a need for more nurses."

The job market for students with a nursing degree is wide open. Wallace Community College has seen an increase in enrollment in medical fields and advisors say those students will have no problem being placed into a hospital when they graduate.

Buntin said, "The publicity of the nursing shortage from television stations has generated interest and we've had a lot of nurses come back to further their degree and many students are coming straight out of high school to get the degree."

Both Southeast Alabama Medical Center and Flowers Hospital get a majority of their employees straight from Wallace Community College.

Dan Cumbie with Flowers Hospital said, "Around 85 percent of our staff comes from Wallace and they come here fully trained and ready to go."

The medical center gets about 20 percent of its employees from Wallace. Both hospitals provide incentive programs in the form of scholarships and tuition reimbursement to entice nurses to work at their hospitals.

While neither Flowers Hospital nor Southeast Alabama Medical Center are reporting a shortage of nurses, both say they are always looking for qualified nurses to build up their programs.

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