Nurses play a critical role in our health care landscape. Without an adequate nurse workforce, it is difficult to provide the optimal care to the patient. In Central Texas, there are scarcity, diversity and distribution issues regarding the nurse population. As of August 2016, there were 1,910 nurse vacancies in our community – the highest hospital vacancy rate in the state – and has been identified among the top five professions that have the greatest hiring difficulty, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. The shortage is greatest in Bastrop and Caldwell counties.
In addition, 30% of the current nurse workforce will retire within the next 10 years, while employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 31% from 2014 to 2024 in Texas. However, in Central Texas the gap is being exacerbated by recruiters not finding qualified candidates, and there is a back-up of prospective nurses unable to complete their programs due to a lack of clinical practice sites.
As well, the lack of nursing faculty continues to contribute to the nursing shortage. In 2014, there were only 20 nursing faculty administrator certified instructors in Central Texas, and thus the accredited nursing program in Central Texas had to turn away 30% of qualified applicants to the program.
Our goal is to impact the number of nurse vacancies in Central Texas by partnering with collaboratives including universities, community colleges, and hospital systems to recruit, train, and retain nurses in our area. We will also support a pathway for disadvantaged young adults to enter a career in nursing in our communities through collaborative education and hospital systems.
St. David’s Foundation will work with all people who have an interest in the nursing field, with an eye towards increasing diversity in the workforce.
Our approach for health care workforce includes plans to:
Andrew Levack, Senior Program Officer
“Nursing is at the forefront of patient care and community health, and indispensable in navigating the health care needs of Central Texans.”