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Enrollment into nursing programs increased in 2020 in spite of nursing shortage

HUDSON, Ohio — America’s nurses are undoubtedly hailed the heartbeat of our nation right now and some of them say it is a heavy cross to carry.

“We’re doing the best we can,” said Cleveland Clinic nurse Tracey Kaser. “It’s very tiring, it’s very emotionally exhausting.”

According to a survey published by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 92% of nurses who responded believed the pandemic has depleted nurses and will cut their careers short.

The survey also found that 66% of respondents have considered leaving the professional solely because of the pandemic.

While some nurses are ready to pass the baton, Kristen Knight from Hudson said she is ready to grab it and run straight into healthcare.

“It’s really inspiring,” said Knight. “I think the amount of work and diligence and ambition they have to do that is really inspiring, they’re sacrificing their lives for others and that's really important to me.”

Knight is an 11th grader at Ohio Virtual Academy, a full-time online public school that offers students college and career prep courses from engineering to healthcare.

She said she chose OVA because nursing has always been an interest, and she doesn't plan to stop at just nursing.

“This allows me to become a state test medical assistant,” said Knight. “From there I would like to take that a little bit further to become a doctor.”

While the pandemic certainly has pushed nurses to their limits, it has also attracted a lot more people into the industry.

The AACN said enrollment into four-year nursing programs increased by nearly 6% in 2020.

Knight said she’s laying the foundation now and believes others should be doing the same.

“I think it is important to become a doctor or nurse or any healthcare provider,” said Knight. “It’s really needed nowadays, we need people to come and help others. It’s really important and something that everyone should consider.”