Cox is expanding college to counter nursing shortage

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo Hospitals across the nation are battling to find and keep qualified nurses.
The average age of a nurse in America is 47 years old, with many baby boomer nurses retiring, it is tough to get enough new nurses to fill those positions.

"If you look at statistically how many baby boomers are retiring, then how many are back-filling, when you look at the workforce coming in, it is a lopsided number." said Celeste Cramer, director of recruitment for Cox.

And it's not because nursing schools are seeing less students interested in going into nursing.

"We had more applicants that I have ever seen in my seven years here this past semester." said Dr. Amy Townsend, chief nurse administrator for Cox College.

"Most of the nursing schools are full, so it is not for a lack of getting people to come, it is about not having enough spots in the nursing schools." said Cramer.

Cox college is looking for ways to admit more students. It is moving its current campus in Cabool to Houston, Missouri and has plans to renovate the college here in Springfield.

"We are looking at admitting an extra 150 students each year into the nursing program than we do now." said Townsend.

Not only getting more students through nursing school, but keeping them in the area.

"We want to focus on hiring locally and have local people here in those nursing positions." said Cramer.

Students at Cox College know about the nurse shortage, and with it, comes concern.

"I feel very eager to get started and get into it, and to see the burnout rate with nurses and nurses struggling to stick with it is saddening." said nursing student Mary Odell.

"There is going to be more hospitals seeking care more than ever before and we have less nurses, so obviously it is concerning." said nursing student Kyle Todd.

Cox College will be having an open house Saturday April 28th, from 10-1 for anybody interested in becoming a nurse or any of the other educational opportunities that they offer.