103 students graduate from Saint Anthony School of Nursing as nursing shortages continue nationwide

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 5:52 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Although the state reports fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations the demand for qualified nurses to take care of those patients is rising.

"I'm feeling ecstatic, I'm excited," said Jared Pape, Saint Anthony College of Nursing graduate.

Pape walked across the Tebala Event Center parking lot to receive his diploma and celebrate his accomplishment.

"Kinda weird seeing all my classmates in cars. You know, we are not having the real graduation experience on stage. But it's nice to be able to do this toward the end of summer," Pape said.

Pape started his first nursing job at MercyHealth a little more than a week ago.

"In an ICU setting so it's been a really good experience," Pape said

"It's expected that a good percentage of nurses that work at the bedside today will be retiring in the next 5 to 10 years and we need to replace those nurses with new and younger blood," said Deborah Anderson, OSF director of nursing operations.

The coronavirus pandemic brought to light a long-standing problem across the nation a shortage of nursing staff.

"When we surged we did experience some short staffing and the resilience and dedication of our nurses showed through," Anderson said.

Anderson says her hospital doesn't have a shortage, but she always keeps her eye out for qualified candidates.

“We are always proactively looking and anticipating what our needs will be as our volume rebound to make sure we are doing the recruitment and getting people on board on time,” Anderson said.

Anderson says the only way to end the nursing shortage is to educate high school students on all that goes into becoming a registered nurse.

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