BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Deborah Garrison has decades of experience in nursing and knows the situation well.
"The shortage of professional nurses is a huge deal right now," says Garrison. "In the next 9 years, it is projected that we will lose a million nurses due to retirement."
Garrison is the interim dean of the Patricia H. Garman School of Nursing at D'Youville College in Buffalo. D'Youville is one of the many institutions both here in Western New York and across the country working to fill the critical nursing void. D'Youville currently has more than 1000 students enrolled in a variety of nursing programs at the school.
"Schools across the country are finding that clinical sites and placements for students to have those clinical experiences is one of the factors that is causing the nursing shortage and is truly an obstacle of overcoming it," says Garrison. "The other major barrier is the shortage of faculty."
Adeeb Tawakali just graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree from D'Youville and says he already has interviews lined up. "I chose nursing because I always felt the need to be a part of things that are bigger than me," says Tawakali. "One of my goals is to become a pediatric nurse."
And the need for nurses is growing by the day. According to 2021 study by Trusted Health, 46% of the over 1000 nurses surveyed said they were "less committed to nursing" than they were before the pandemic. Nearly 1-in-4 said they were actively looking for a job outside of nursing, or planning to retire.
"You are finding nurses, especially in inpatient settings, that are being pushed into overtime work which doesn't allow them to have time to rest and renew themselves. That can indeed push nurses out of the inpatient setting," said Garrison.
She adds that the current shortage only furthers the burden on those already in nursing roles. Still those that are allowed to find a balance can find that a career in nursing is very rewarding with salaries ranging between $50,000 to more than $100,000 depending on experience and setting.
"If this is something that you really want to do there is a shortage of people," says Tawakali. "This is a wonderful profession, and I recommend it to everyone."