CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas Department of State Health Services is predicting a major shortage of nurses over the next 10 years.
In Texas, we're looking at a shortage of 60,000 nurses, and a million nationwide by 2029.
"Many nurses are baby boomers and many of them will be retiring," explains Dr. Bunny Forgione, dean for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Sciences, adding that the average nurse is 50 years old.
"I actually do have a job offer already," said Shanee Brown, who graduated from that program in December. "I've accepted one, so I'm very excited about that."
While the number of nursing students at TAMUCC's nursing program continues to grow, its faculty and clinical space resources remain the same.
Currently, it's looking for ways to make more room for aspiring nurses.
"We are going very, very fast to try to educate as many young new nurses that we can get out into the workforce," Forgione said.
The end goal is not easy. One of the issues universities and hospitals are seeing with the nursing shortage is students and young nurses burning out.
"This program was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," said Brown, who also served seven years in the Navy.
The Islanders have the "Ready Program," which provides not only counseling and tutoring, but financial help as well.
Some students find themselves having to work sometimes three jobs just to put food on the table.
The university recognized early on that in order to avoid burn out, things had to change.
Through grants, the 'Ready Program' provided students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences with more than $4.5 million in the last four years.
The program is helping students be hired all over the country.
States like California, New York and Florida are seeing the biggest deficit of nurses, with the South not far behind.
After pushing through one of the most rigorous nursing programs in Texas, TAMUCC nurses are now reaping the benefits.
"I think 100 percent of my class already have jobs lined up and or have already started," Brown said, smiling.
The Islanders say they're ready to take the lead as the next generation of nurses.