CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is helping prepare the next generation of healthcare workers to help fill the growing number of vacant nursing positions.
Nursing student Ashlynn Lobrecht is preparing to graduate from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at TAMU-CC.
"Looking forward to getting in the field I want to specialize in and just finding my passion," she said.
Nursing students like Nicolas Esquivel said the nursing program at the college has helped prepare him and other fellow students for that next chapter.
"Most people have to go looking for the job and I feel everyone comes looking for you," He said. "Oh my gosh you are about to graduate nursing school give me your name and number."
With only one semester left to go before graduation Nicolas and Ashlyn said they are in a unique position because of the ongoing shortage. For them, it's actually a blessing in disguise.
Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Hassan Aziz said their enrollment numbers are healthy and so is the demand at local hospitals.
"Really we can not produce enough graduates to meet the local needs and regional needs right now," he said.
Aziz said the need for nurses has been going on for some time in part because of retirements, but most recently, because of those who switched careers because of the pandemic.
That is where the university is helping fill those numbers, doing what they can with scholarships and partnerships with local hospitals to keep students local.
"The good news is that nationwide, we are seeing the average age of nurses dropped a little bit, which is good, the shortage is severe and we have to produce as many as we can," he said.
Aziz said it is estimated that about half of the graduates from TAMU-CC stay in Corpus Christi.
Nicolas added that he hopes to give back in his own special way.
"I would love to stay local yes, to give back to the community that has given back so much to me," he said.