Mid-South university hopes to improve registered nurse vacancies with new 4-year program

Mid-South university hopes to improve registered nurse vacancies with new 4-year program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Mid-South is feeling the strain at its hospitals. There are thousands of nursing vacancies here, and hundreds of thousands of vacancies across the county.

For years people have been getting their nursing degrees at Christian Brothers University. However, to do that you had to come in with an associate’s degree. This fall the school will have a new nursing program allowing students a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing.

“This whole project started two years ago when the school asked me to explore expanding the nursing offerings here,” CBU Director of Nursing Jennifer Mayo said. “We evaluated what Memphis needed and we determined it was really just registered nurses.”

There are 1,000 nursing vacancies in Memphis. The city isn’t unique in that regard.

“Nationwide there are about 200,000 vacancies,” Mayo said. “Those are going to be filled by traveling nurses or nurses outside the area. So, I think it's important that we train our nurses here in Memphis and they stay.”

Mayo said the school will partner with Methodist, St. Jude and Regional One to give the students real world experiences of being a nurse in Memphis.

“It allows our students to really get familiar with these hospital systems, and so when they do go to work they can hit the ground running,” Mayo said. As for what's causing the nursing shortage, Mayo said it starts with the number of programs available. The options are few and the few have long waitlists.

Mayo said CBU wants to accept 30 students into its nursing program this fall and expand from there. There have been two applicants already since Thursday's announcement.

Mayo said CBU’s nursing program is the only Catholic program between New Orleans and St. Louis.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.