Top South Carolina Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
South Carolina is experiencing a nursing shortage in all areas of nursing and with all kinds of nursing employers. To combat this, various initiatives have been put in place, including reward programs. Nurses of all specialties, from medical surgical experts to hospice care, are in high demand.
There is a particularly high demand in medically underserved areas, of which the state has 78, which affects 74.4% of the population. Additionally, the average age of the population is growing, meaning that more complex health needs are emerging. To top off the perfect storm, much of the current Nurse Educator workforce is approaching or has passed, retirement age. Indeed, the average age of nurses in the state is 50.
Although there are 10 schools listed with the American Association of Nursing Colleges, 849 students had to be turned away because of lack of nurse educator staff. Waiting lists are huge so that even those who are offered a placement have to wait for a long time. This is pushing students away, as they want to have an education now, and not several years from now. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state will require an additional 12,100 nurses by 2020.
The one positive note, at the moment, is that there is currently no shortage of nurses in the Upstate area. Yet, the worry is that although cities that are close to some of the better schools offering nursing programs are able to attract and retain nurses, this may not be the case in a few years. Unfortunately, the fact that there are no many vacancies in some of the most attractive places in South Carolina means that few students will consider the area at all.
Some of the schools are currently experiencing 13% vacancy rates, which is very worrying. As many of the faculty staff will soon retire, even the areas where there is currently no shortage will start to feel the pinch, particularly as the needs of the population are changing too. Indeed, there is an increased demand for nurses who work outside of hospitals, as hospitals are trying to discharge patients as soon as possible.
There is also a strong shortage in nurses in critical areas. Hence, nurses are encouraged to look for intensive care experience, medical surgery and other emergency services. Furthermore, as 60% of the current workforce are employed in hospitals, other care agencies are experiencing high demand. The average salary for registered nurses in South Carolina currently stands at $66,000, but is expected to grow as a further incentive as well.