TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The University of Arizona expanded its college of nursing recently.
"We started a brand-new program. It launched in the fall of 2019 in Gilbert."
That program is year-round, according to Dr. Connie Miller, at the University's College of Nursing.
This is important because it allows the program to turn out nurses quicker, boosting their numbers across the state.
"There is a nursing shortage and we know that Arizona is going to need many more nurses in the future."
Miller said all three UArizona colleges of nursing turned out 251 nurses in 2020.
She provided figures of how many nurses the University of Arizona is projected to turn out over the next three years and it is ambitious, all totaled 1668 nurses.
"Our students used to always go to the hospital and with the pandemic, some of the hospitals no longer were accepting students."
Miller said the pandemic has changed the way students are learning, going mostly virtual.
States around the country have requirements for nursing students to complete called 'clinicals,' real world, in-hospital learning.
Miller said Arizona's Board of Nursing, like other boards across the country, has given nursing programs some breaks on those requirements.
"They have made it OK for us to replace actual in-person clinical experiences with virtual clinical experiences."
All of it, promising news for hospitals around Arizona that are so desperately in need of nurses when there isn't a pandemic, a need that is now very evident.