UT Health San Antonio’s nursing school applications doubled despite growing nursing shortage

UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing program has a 92% graduation rate

While a nursing shortage has some concerned about the future of healthcare, UT Health San Antonio Nursing School has seen an increase in nursing applications.

SAN ANTONIO – The health system is overwhelmed, nurses are exhausted, and the pandemic is adding to a growing nurse shortage.

According to a 2019 Texas Center for Nursing Workforce study, Texas is projected to be short 57,000 nurses. This projection is feared to be even worse now, with nurses calling it quits because of the high demand from the pandemic.

A medical assistant and recent nursing school applicant, Marina Moreno, has witnessed the problems nurses face first hand.

Moreno says she’s worked in ER’s, hospitals, and pop-up clinics. She explained pop-up clinics are extremely taxing on the body because of long hours, little breaks, and all the PPE that is worn while standing out in the heat.

“You get dehydrated, you need to drink water and if you forget to drink water, you start to feel faint and you start to feel sick,” Moreno said.

Moreno explained that she’s not the only one who’s experiencing the effects of working pop-up clinics.

I’ve seen some of the older nurses actually sit down and almost pass out because they’re so tired and for that reason a lot of them already left and resigned,” Moreno said.

Cynthia O’Neal, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, says fortunately, they’ve seen applications double.

On top of the increased interest in nursing, she adds students can join the fight against Covid early on in their nursing programs.

“Our nursing students were really pivotal in being able to administer those vaccines and help with that mass vaccination effort,” O’Neal said.

Students typically come to UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing with 60 hours of required course credits and take two years to complete their four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing. Currently, the school has about a 92% graduation rate and hope to increase that rate, according to O’Neal.

About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.