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Nebraska impacted by nursing shortage

Posted at 6:34 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 07:50:06-04

As people live longer it's putting pressure on the medical field.

There's a severe nursing shortage nationwide and that includes Nebraska. 

"Just last week the World Health Organization and The International Council of Nurses announced that the world will need nine million new nurses," said Dr. Juliann Sebastian.

It's a global issue that's also impacting Nebraska.

"Over the last 15 years or so, we have worked hard to increase enrollment and address the shortage, but it continues to be a problem in Nebraska and the United States," said Dr. Sebastian.

UNMC'S Dr. Juliann Sebastian says currently there are about 24 thousand active registered nurses in the state.

"Nebraska Department of Labor statistics estimates by 2024 we will need to fill over eight thousand nursing positions," said Dr.Sebastian.

"People are getting older and need more care, they have more chronic conditions as they get older, but also there is more technology that allows people to live longer," said Dr.Sebastian.

Dr. Sebastian says as people age the care becomes more complex.

"In order to provide safe and effective care the hospital or agency has to have enough nurses," said Dr.Sebastian.

UNMC will even travel to nurses for continuing education which cuts expenses for hospitals and providers.

"So this can help bridge some of the gap, and help make it more attractive to live and work in a rural community," said Dr.Sebastian.

As long time nurses retire Dr. Sebastian says the need will continue to grow in Nebraska and nationwide.

"We need a complete team to provide the best care possible for our patients and that's what we are aiming to insure that we have," said Dr.Sebastian.