UNC hopes to help in nationwide nursing shortage

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UNC Hospitals hopes to help with a nationwide nursing shortage (WTVD)

As the nation faces a nursing shortage, with estimates of more than 1 million vacancies for registered nurses between 2014-2022, UNC-Chapel Hill is welcoming a new dean to its School of Nursing focused on fixing the problem.

Chancellor Carol Folt helped introduce Dr. Nilda Peragallo Montano at a reception inside Alumni Hall on UNC's campus Thursday.

Before coming to UNC in January, Peragallo Montano served more than a decade as the dean of the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Throughout the course of her career, Peragallo Montano has specialized in health disparities, devoted to improving the health of minorities and other medically underserved populations.

Dr. Gwen Sherwood, Associate Dean for Practice and Global Initiatives at UNC's School of Nursing said among the factors driving the nation's nursing shortage are an aging nurse population, the need for better recruiting and faculty retention, and stronger academic-clinical partnership that help get nursing students the real-world experience they need.

One of the biggest obstacles is finding clinical placement for grad students who want to become nurse practitioners.

"The work is very intense and for a provider to have a student takes a little bit of time so we have to have providers who are in a position to be able to mentor a student," said Sherwood.

Sherwood stressed the need to recruit nursing faculty to educate and mentor students first in the classroom; a difficult task when nurses can make more money working in clinical.

"It is certainly a dynamic time in our profession," said Peragallo Montano. "I cannot tell you what's going to happen tomorrow in healthcare as you cannot either because we are undergoing so much change. But it is our duty and our privilege in nursing that we develop programs to secure funding necessary to do our greatest work yet on behalf of the people of North Carolina and beyond."

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