Hawaii has a shortage of nurses. It also has a shortage of people ready to train them.

While more people are interested in becoming nurses, nursing schools have been losing faculty -- meaning applicants for the programs are being turned away.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:38 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:55 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The COVID pandemic has highlighted just how significant the nation’s nursing shortage is. Making it worse: A shortage of faculty to train them that’s only getting worse.

The Hawaii State Center for Nursing says that in normal years 45% of nursing applicants are admitted into programs. But this year, programs were only able to accept 29% of applicants.

“I think we are in a concerning place,” said Laura Reichhardt, center director.

“If we had a surge tomorrow, I don’t think we’d do well. I think we’d have to bring in travel nurses. We don’t have enough nurses in our state to cover 24 hour, 24-7 nursing care.”

During the COVID pandemic, more nursing faculty retired or resigned. They needed to care for their own family, others went back to the mainland or they left for positions in hospitals that pay more.

“The pay for faculty at universities can’t compete with nurses who are working in hospitals or other healthcare settings so if you can earn 40% more, 50% more, or even more, working in an institution that’s very attractive,” said Hilton Raethel, CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

Chaminade University bucked the trend, admitting 90 nursing students this fall and says it has an accelerated track with 24 additional slots in January.

“We don’t have a faculty shortage,” said Dr. Rhoberta Haley, dean of Chaminade’s School of Nursing and Health Professions.

“We have just enough so we are always looking for more faculty and we know they are hard to come by. Right now we are fully covered.”

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.