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UNCG faces high nursing school applications

Despite the burnout many healthcare workers are facing, there were 300 plus applicants this year at UNCG's School of Nursing.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on nurses. 

Despite the burnout many are facing, applications in nursing schools are on the rise. 

There were more than 300 applicants this year at UNCG's School of Nursing, but only 120 can enter the program.

The School of Nursing's Director of Student Affairs Philip Simpson, said while the pandemic has been tough, he believes it's the passion students have to get out and help people.

"Many of them have seen firsthand and heard stories, especially for ICU patients and some of the nurses on the frontlines. It has been difficult, it's been a difficult profession," Simpson said.

He also said many have family members within the profession and they want to follow suit. 

"They're not working eight to five jobs. A lot of times they work overnight, 12-hour shifts, weekends, holidays. I think students are very aware that there's a sacrifice to be made," Simpson said. 

While 300 applicants have applied, nursing school is very competitive with limited seats. The school recently opened a new 180,000 square foot school of nursing building to help grow the program.

"One of the big hang-ups for us is the number of clinical rotations in the community. So, we have several nursing schools within a 2-hour radius of Greensboro who are all competing for clinical seats or clinical spots in the different hospital systems," Simpson said. 

Due to the recent nurse shortage many Triad health systems are facing, the Chief Nurse Executive of Cone Health said it's good news to hear many students are interested in becoming a nurse.

"That means greater opportunity to recruit. That means a greater opportunity for us to influence the community. I'm excited to hear that," Dr. Kenneth Rempher said.

Local health systems like Cone Health are continuing to hire nurses. 

Recruiting and retention are a big part of what many hospitals are dealing with across the state.