Presentation College sees increased nursing enrollment

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The ongoing pandemic has greatly affected nurses and medical professionals, from fatigue, burnout and staff shortages. And those concerns are well known to nursing students and instructors, looking to keep the supply of staff up.

At Presentation College’s nursing students orientation, more seats were filled than usual even with social distancing measures in place. But the students there only represent a small number needed to fill the demand, just in South Dakota.

“We had approximately twice the number of available openings for nurses than we had nurse graduates in the state of South Dakota. We’re only graduating half of the need that we have.” said Presentation College MSN Program Clinical Coordinator and Instructor Dr. Sharon Simon.

However the college has seen increased enrollment two years in a row, helped by more students looking to nursing as a way to help fight the pandemic.

“We’re actually up in numbers this year. We’ve gone up for nursing students, which is really exciting.” said Presentation College Academic Dean and Interim Chief Academic Officer Dr. Sandra Welling.

Current students in the program know their situation will be tough once they graduate. But they know the road ahead will be a rewarding one.

“Coming into the program, this wasn’t even thought of. We had no idea this was going to come.” said Presentation College Senior Nursing Student Hunter Giffrow.

A current nurse practitioner herself, Simon said it’s a relief to see the growing number of nursing students, adding that not everything from this past year and a half has been negative.

“One of the things I see is the number of people that have felt moved to move into the healthcare profession, be it nursing or anything associated with medicine. And that’s a wonderful thing.” said Simon.

Simon said one way that people outside of nursing can help is to do their part in staying healthy.

“We really want to encourage people to get the vaccination. Because the vaccination is our best defense against this virus, We will conquer this virus, but the more people we can get vaccinated, the more quickly that will happen.” said Simon.

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