Nursing schools see a shortage of students after pandemic

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Numbers in nursing schools around the state are statistically low. The cause? Most likely, the pandemic. 

“We’re about 40 students short of what we would normally expect to start in January,” said Dr. Mary Bennett, Director of the WKU School of Nursing.  

Students have to take intro classes in order to start nursing. In fall of 2020, not as many students signed up to take that first class, which was only offered online.

“Right after the pandemic started in the fall of 20, we had fewer nurses preparing to enter, they did not take that first anatomy and physiology class which means that they didn’t get prepared to enter nursing and that’s why we don’t have the numbers ready to go now, we’re really feeling the effects of the pandemic, it just took a while to hit us,” said Bennett. 

And more than ever, there is a huge need for nurses. One WKU nursing student says the pandemic actually encouraged her to be a nurse and hopes others stay passionate.

“With Covid I actually wanted to pursue nursing because I just felt like the need was there. My mother was diagnosed with Covid in November of that year and seeing her in the hospital not being able to go see her I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be there for those people who had no one,” said Kendall Weldon.

And this problem isn’t just in Bowling Green.  

“It will affect the number of nurses that are able to be hired by the hospital. Not only for Bowling Green but for Nashville, also we see a significant number of our students do go to Nashville. So this region, and since it’s all across Kentucky that blip is gonna be everywhere, it’s not just in Bowling Green,” said Bennett. 

But good news- Dr. Bennett said the numbers are going back up again now that classes are in person. 80 or 90 qualified nursing students will be ready to go in January.