The pandemic has brought dynamic, long-term challenges to both the education and healthcare spaces. Seemingly overnight nursing programs had to pivot to find ways to keep their students healthy and progressing towards completed degrees. This was more important than ever because hospitals were overrun with critically sick patients, while they lost staff to sick days and burnout. All of this has contributed to growing concerns that many hospitals across the United States don’t have enough nurses to maintain safe workplaces.
Maria Carrasco, with Inside Higher Ed, in her article Graduating More Nurses, discusses the severity of the nursing shortage, as well as some of the causes, from the educator’s perspective. For instance, in 2020 Connecticut had around 50,000 registered nurses, over 50% of them being 50 years old or older. This reflects the situation in many states which have an aging healthcare workforce. Florida has projected that they will be almost 60,000 nurses short by 2035.
When an issue of this magnitude becomes so widespread it's important to objectively diagnose and understand the root cause. You might expect that one of the main causes for this nursing shortage is that fewer young people are interested in becoming nurses knowing the difficult career that they’re signing up for. However, this isn’t the case,
“The problem is not a lack of student interest. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that a total of 91,938 qualified applications were denied admission to nursing schools nationwide in 2021… lack of capacity forces universities to turn away ‘tens of thousands of qualified students’ from nursing programs every year.”
A lack of capacity is one of the leading causes of nursing shortages. Even with this understanding, there are still many questions that need to be answered. We know one thing for sure, when you have a capacity problem, there’s two ways to fix it:
1. Increase capacity
2. Make what exists more efficient
Increasing capacity is a long-term, expensive solution. This implies building new buildings, buying new equipment, and hiring more staff. This isn’t a solution to an immediate problem, but of course is critically important for building a brighter future for the healthcare space long-term.
This leaves us with the reality that the only way to fix the immediate capacity crisis is to make the existing processes more efficient. One of the unseen positive results of this crisis was that it forced nursing programs and other higher education institutions to accept change and innovation at much higher rates than normal, out of necessity.
During this time many healthcare institutions turned to Online Proctoring as a first step in increasing the safety and efficiency of their examinations. This allowed both the Institutions and the Students to quickly pivot and continue through their education pipeline with little to no delay. Students enjoyed the flexibility, and simplicity that online proctoring offered. The Nursing Program Providers enjoyed cost savings, richer testing data, faster and more accurate testing results, and better Audit trails were student complaints to arise in the future.
ProctorFree is proud to be one of the premiere Online Proctoring Providers that Nursing Programs turned to, to guide them and their Students through this crisis. Now that things have returned to “normal” very few Nursing Programs have gone back to doing things the “old way” seeing how much more efficient this small change has made their programs.
If you are involved in a Nursing Program, and think that Online Proctoring could help your Institution please reach out to us, if nothing else we’d love to get to know you and your work, and help guide you towards achieving your goals.