Nursing program at Gaston College looks to defeat health care worker shortages

Source: Bria Bell
Source: Bria Bell
Source: Bria Bell
Source: Bria Bell

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Across the country there's a strong need for nurses. Some are even considering the shortage and that problem has trickled down to hospitals in Gaston County.

With less nurses around, Kimberly Sain, the Director of Public Affairs for CaroMont Health, says its a burden for the entire health care system.

"The shortage, at least for us, isn't creating an issue for patient care, it's more about staff retention and recruiting to keep a solid pipeline of skilled nursing staff and avoid burnout."

Burnout is one of the reasons nurses seem to be dropping like flies. It's an industry where the work hours are long and stress levels can be high.

But students in the nursing program at Gaston College say they're being well-prepped for the job -- classes included topics such as self-care.

"You can't take care of other people, until you take care of yourself first," says first-year nursing student Elaine Yancey.

And the intense demand of the career, isn't a deterrent.

"Not at all. I work in the field now and I'm not afraid of it," says Yancey.

The program is not a cake walk according to Dr. Allison Abernathy -- the curriculum is hard, but

it's to equip students to be able to face realities on the road ahead.

"They hate us when they're here because it's so hard, but when they're at work and the light bulb goes off they're so grateful," D. Abernathy says.

With hundreds of applicants applying to the nursing program each year at Gaston College, the goal remains the same for the department: increase its pipeline of nurses to combat the shortage here locally.

One-hundred percent of the nursing students at Gaston college end up finding a job right after graduation; most of them end up working within Gaston at local hospitals.

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