Local medical schools say they have a solution to ongoing critical nursing shortage in Texas.
Amarillo College, West Texas A and M University, and the Texas Tech School of Medicine are building a new simulation center to fill the growing job vacancies.
The average age of a nurse in the Texas Panhandle is 47.
From now to 2020 the demand for RNs is expected to increase by 86% and the supply by only 53%.
Dean of WTAMU's Nursing and Health Sciences Department Heidi Taylor says, "The majority of nurses are baby boomers. They are retiring, and over the past 20 years or so we've not entered enough young people into our profession."
But local nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants.
"We don't have enough facility resources to teach all of these students. The other is, some of us have space constraints on our campuses that do not allow us to grow as large as we'd like to and the other problem happens to be in clinical areas," says Taylor.
To meet these demands, local colleges are working together to open a new medical simulation center this fall in Amarillo.
The simulation center will allow every student to get the real life experience they need without leaving the classroom.
Dr. Richard Jordan of the Texas Tech School of Medicine says, "All working together on very sophisticated computerized mannequins. That these mannequins can breathe they can have blood pressure changes, they can respond medications, they can even speak, they perspire, they bleed, you can do procedures on them."
Doctor Jordan says the use of these mannequins will improve local health care as well. "So it can bring everybody up to a higher level of proficiency by working on these mannequins before they start working on human beings."