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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Hospital-Based Nursing Education Partnership Grant Program

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Texas is facing a record shortage in registered nurses, and the deficit will increase as health care facilities expand to serve a growing and aging population.

The median Texas hospital vacancy rate for RN-positions is eleven percent. The shortage threatens to get worse because seventy-three thousand RNs – about half of Texas’ current supply – will retire in the next ten years, according to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies.

There are plenty of people who want to become nurses. But we lack enough qualified instructors to train them. In 2006, nursing schools turned away more than 11,000 qualified applicants because of a lack of faculty.

Texas Health Resources is doing its part by joining with local nursing schools to recruit and train new nurses. For example, we pay the salaries of four nursing instructors who teach in the UT-Arlington School of Nursing. The courses are taught at our hospitals and are open to nurses from other hospitals as well as our own.

Last June, Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation to allow nursing schools to use grants to fund part-time faculty positions, which will also help alleviate the nursing faculty shortage.

These are not the only answers to the challenges our state faces to meet future demand for registered nurses. But they are helpful tools that will enable Texas to increase the number of nurses entering the job market.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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