Cuesta College has seen a decrease in nursing applications
At Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, nursing students complete a two-year program to become a registered nurse.
“There is a shortage of nurses and it is likely to get worse,” Marcia Scott, director of nursing at Cuesta College, told KSBY. “[And] how we fix it is difficult because we can continue to release 46 graduates per year.
Tuition is about six thousand dollars for the two-year program, which includes books, uniforms, and even gas for clinic days. Cuesta College has not increased tuition for the program in recent years.
“We’ve lost about 50 applicants this year, and it’s on, you know, we’ve usually had between 300 and 330 applicants over the last two years. This year we went around – I think it was 250,” Scott explained.
Marcia Scott said she can’t wait to see what happens next year. At Cuesta, they have a steady stream of prospective students who meet with program advisors and attend information sessions.
“Hospitals have experienced an exodus of nursing experience. Nurses leave for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons is the stress, fatigue, and burnout of this ongoing situation. Patients in a pandemic, we need experienced nurses in facilities to mentor and train our graduates, so increasing our numbers alone will not solve the nursing shortage,” Scott said.
Scott says last year’s graduates found jobs that paid around forty to fifty dollars an hour, but she expects that number to rise.
In May, Cuesta College plans to hold the first pinning ceremony for new nursing graduates since the pandemic began with family and friends allowed to attend.