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Nursing shortage in N.C. expected to worsen over next 12 years

The concerning part is that because the project has been years in the making, the “COVID effect” is not even factored in.
A new website shows North Carolina's nursing shortage could worsen through 2033.
A new website shows North Carolina's nursing shortage could worsen through 2033.
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:57 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina had a shortage of nurses.

Now, new data shows the shortage could only get worse in the coming years.

This data is on a website called the N.C. Nursecast. It was just unveiled this week and it’s a joint project between numerous health groups, including researchers at the University of North Carolina.

The concerning part is that because the project has been years in the making, the “COVID effect” is not even factored in.

The pre-pandemic numbers projected a shortage of about 12,000 nurses by 2033. Researchers say they know things like stress, vaccine woes and a desire for higher pay are all factoring in as to whether nurses stay in the workforce, and those factors could change the numbers significantly.

“If nurses in fact retire or leave the workforce even just five years earlier than they would have, that brings us up to 21,000 nurses,” Erin Fraher, deputy director of the UNC Sheps Center for Health Services, said.

Researchers say while the outlook isn’t great, they believe this Nursecast tool is key.

They say while the education pipeline is important, they believe the key to turning this around lies in keeping existing nurses happy and convincing those who have left to come back.

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