Boost of Panhandle students choosing nursing as career due to effects Pandemic

Boost of Panhandle students choosing nursing as career due to effects Pandemic

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Colleges throughout the Panhandle are seeing a boost in students trying to become nurses like never before.

Directors of these nursing programs believe it’s due to the Panhandles push to help it’s community in a time of need.

“It seems to have sparked some sort of patriotism,” said Sondra Cochran, administrative assistant to Allied Health for Clarendon College.

Clarendon College’s two campuses have seen a 60 percent increase in enrollment to their introduction to nursing programs.

Frank Phillips and Amarillo College’s Rural Education Nursing Program has almost doubled for the fall semester.

The Dean of nursing at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center contributes their record increase to nurses getting more media attention during this pandemic.

Cochran says it could be due to the vast job availability at hospitals.

“I think that’s also been an interest for people to know that they can finish this degree and go anywhere and have a job,” said Cochran.

The pandemic has really shined a light on the need for nursing in the country.

With the increase of people choosing to be nurses as a career, it in turn helps medical facilities like the Northwest Texas Hospital and Baptist St. Anthony’ Health System.

“I think with COVID-19, a shortage of nursing, exhausted nurses, exhausted doctors and health care in general has really took a toll. I think that people in part, want to go into the healthcare profession to address those areas of weakness," said Shannon Carroll, executive vice president at Frank Phillips College.

With more people wanting to be a nurse though, getting into programs has been a little more difficult.

Some schools have seen the competitiveness increase dramatically.

“I’ve had the most qualified applicants I’ve had in several semesters,” said Shawna McGill, nursing program director at Clovis Community College.

McGill says the applicants for the nursing program’s G.P.A. have risen significantly.

She says it’s always hard to choose who will be let into the program, but this year will be a little harder.

Some schools are closing their applications this upcoming week.

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