Updated 04/27/2010 06:49 AM
BU expands nursing program to meet local demand
While many industries have seen a decline in recent years, there's one that's projected to have substantial growth well into the next decade. The demand for nurses has been on the rise nationwide. Our Janelle Burrell tells us about two new programs at Binghamton University that are aimed at curbing the shortage.
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VESTAL, N.Y. -- By all accounts the projections are startling.
"If we don't do something quickly, and programs like this are encouraged and funded, we really could see a really negative impact on the ability of caregivers," said Faye Utyro, director of nursing at the Greater Binghamton Health Center.
If no action is taken, estimates report the national health care system will be short at least one million nurses by 2020.
"We're aging out and so we've got to look at who is going to take care of us," Utyro said.
So Utero and fellow local medical professionals say they are encouraged by Binghamton University's announcement of two new nursing programs: doctor of nursing practice and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
School officials are touting the programs as a means to meet the growing demand.
"We all know that our population is aging and the number of people seeking health care is going to increase, so I see our practitioners being extremely active in that role," said Joyce Ferrario, dean of BU's Decker School of Nursing.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, which will be a requirement for all nurse practitioners come 2015, will target the dire need for primary care health professionals. The other program is tailored to meet what's become a fast growing demand for both young and old patients, mental health care.
"What we try to do with this program is put a lifespan approach together so that we're going to prepare psychiatric nurse practitioners to help deal with these issues," said Mary Muscari, a nursing professor at BU, issues anticipated to add to the ever increasing national shortage of nurses, a shortage they're hoping to curb one degree at a time.
School officials say they hope to admit 25 students to the doctor of nursing practice this fall. Seven students are already enrolled in the psychiatric mental health program. They hope to double enrollment next year.