ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - Florida is one of the top states in the country in need of nurses - amid a looming nationwide shortage.
According to national reports, many nurses are close to retirement and there aren’t enough people entering the career to replace them.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Registered nurse Lisa Kerrick has been in the industry for 25 years. She says it's hard work, but very rewarding.
“One of the things I like best about being a nurse is the people I get to interact with,” said Kerrick. “Nursing is very hard work. We work shifts, we work nights, we work holidays. So it's physically demanding. It's also emotionally demanding. But I think that the rewards outweigh the challenges.”
More nurses are needed as baby boomers age, but there won’t be enough people for the job.
“Of most concern, I think more than 50 percent of nurses are over the age of 50. So, we are going to be experiencing a high number of retirement,” said Kerrick.
And it impacts patient care.
“Hospitals are probably going to have a hard time keeping their beds open and staffed,” said Kerrick.
Being a nurse is more than just giving medication. David Santacruz with AdventHealth Wesley Chapel said he became a nurse after his father was diagnosed with a form of leukemia.
“Actually speaking with my dad, he would tell me the difference that somebody who was actually compassionate, took care of him and actually cared for him,” said Santacruz.
Those words drive his approach on the job.
“You develop a relationship with each patient, and it's hard sometimes to break that off,” he said.
Nurses hope more people see the value in the career and help reverse what’s coming.
“We are in need of great people who really care and want to take the next step in helping and aiding these patients to better health. We need them,” said Santacruz.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the lack of spots in schools also affects the shortage. Some nursing schools are forming partnerships and getting private support to increase the number of slots for students.