More nurses needed in Middle Tennessee - WSMV News 4

More nurses needed in Middle Tennessee

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Middle Tennessee faces a nurse shortage. (WSMV) Middle Tennessee faces a nurse shortage. (WSMV)

“It's not a job, it's a calling.”

That's what nurses across the Midstate say.

However, not as many are staying in the industry these days. The problem is, there aren't enough nurses graduating to make up for the ones who will be retiring, or out of the industry in the next decade.

There's also a lack of "experienced" nurses in the Midstate.

Those who stick around say it's not for everyone, but it's a career that is open for business.

Erin Greatrex has been a nurse for 17 years, 14 of those in Rutherford County.

“I’ve always wanted to take care of people, from even when I was little,” Greatrex said. “The growth is absolutely phenomenal even to date. We are seeing a lot more patients shipped in from the rural hospitals, and we have one of the busiest ERs in the state of Tennessee.

At St. Thomas Health, 65 percent of registered nurses are recent graduates. Greatrex has noticed a lot of turnover in her line of work.

“The problem is that we need the nurse to stay at the bedside,” Greatrex explained. “We're seeing a lot of shifting from bedside to I definitely want to do something else.”

She knows this career is not for everyone.

“It's an absolute calling. It's the desire to care for that patient when they come to you in pain, when they come to you not knowing what's going on, not knowing if they're going to live. It's the calling to stay calm. God puts you here with that presence,” she said.

However, if people feel called to care and are looking for a stable career.

“I always say, if you get your resume and a black suit on, you can get a job that day!” said Greatrex

As baby boomers retire, the shortage gap will increase if more nurses don't join the ranks. As baby boomers age, it will create a greater demand for caregivers.

St. Thomas Health administrators say millennials are choosing nursing more than any previous generation, because of the connection to purpose the career brings.

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