GC Nursing Program’s response to nursing crisis


Courtesy of Anna Leavitt

Nurses in training for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Grace Wood, Staff Writer

Due to the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nurse shortage crisis has risen throughout the U.S. The American Nurses Association issued a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that declared this as an official crisis. According to the Georgia Board of Health Care (GBHW), there are only around 141,117 nurses in GA. 

As a result, the GC Nursing program has opened a 3rd cohort and they recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Hralth and Human Services Administation of $980,000 which will fund another two years of GC’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training program.

“Georgia has around 100,000 registered nurses but we still have one of the lowest populations of nurses in relation to our statewide population in the nation,” said Dr. Josie Doss, Interim Director and Associate Professor. “We do not have a good ratio of nurse to nurse to resident populations, so we’re hoping that even just adding 40 to our cohort will improve our abilities to be able to staff some of these positions.” 

There were 40 nursing students rather than the typical 56 students who were admitted into the cohort this past summer.

Due to the high rate of retirement, the nurses currently in the workforce have taken a heavier workload. Nursing professors are dedicated to teaching students how to manage their time and decompress when needed to prevent burnout. 

“We try to teach them to schedule their days out by the hour so that they are able to lock themselves times at night to decompress or even during the weekend,” said Morgan Fordham, a nursing lecturer.

Fordham is currently working on developing a “mindfulness-based stress reduction” application for bedside nurses but hopes to be able to use it for incoming nurses in their program. She wants to make sure the students are leaving GC with the right tools.

The nursing professors are also teaching the students how to advocate for themselves and find their voice so that the next generation of nurses can receive better wages and hours.

“We are trying to teach our students how to remain strong and advocate for the change that we need to take care of patients and ourselves,” said Dr. Joyce Norris-Taylor, assistant professor of nursing.

The students in GC’s school of nursing discuss how they feel about their professors, their cohort and its accomplishments. 

“I can smile knowing that today I’m developing the foundation, work ethic and mindset that will be fundamental in my career as a nurse,” said Caroline Johnson, a junior nursing major.