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Expert Weighs in on Nursing Shortage

ATC Nursing

May is National Nurses Month, a time to reflect on the work nurses perform. Healthcare advocates are also hoping to draw attention to the ongoing shortage of registered nurses in the nation. Kenya Beard is chief nursing officer at Mercy University school of nursing.

“There has been a significant drop in the number of nurses that stay beyond a year in nursing,” according to Beard. “We have more than ever, a rise in the number of nurses that leave the workforce who are under the age of 35.”

Beard says the numbers in Georgia are particularly troubling.

“Because while the nursing is projected to increase nationwide, Georgia is already being hit pretty hard, they’re the third lowest in the country for the nurse to state population. So, they have about 7.6 per thousand people, and the state is projected to need over 13,000 nurses by 2030.”

She says shortages in the medical field can result in dire consequences for patients.

“We’re in a society now where medical errors are the third leading cause of death,” beard said. “When Johns Hopkins put out that report, I think all of us were amazed because you think of heart attack, you think of cancer, you think of those being the leading cause of death, not medical errors.”

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!