U of R does its part to fill nursing shortage

Patrick Moussignac
Created: January 22, 2020 05:46 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The University of Rochester School of Nursing has more students now than ever before. Enrollment at the school is now up by 40%.

The school is doing everything it can to meet the demand for more registered nurses as the country continues to see a shortage in the profession. 

An empty seat is now difficult to find at the nursing school. Dean Kathy Rideout says every year the school receives hundreds of applications for the limited amount of available seats. 

Since the fall, the program has changed tremendously. 

"So we have really placed a significant emphasis on diversifying our student population. So the class that started in the fall was almost 30% of underrepresented groups in nursing and 25 to 30% men," Rideout said.

That helped the school raise its student enrollment numbers by 40%. In 2016, the program had about 530 students. Today that number is well above 700. 

The boost in student population is mostly attributed to the school's accelerated program. Students can graduate in one year compared to almost two years at other nursing schools. 

Rideout explained why.

"It's easier for someone to move across the country and put their lives on hold for a year. That makes it reasonable, but we also have a successful program," Rideout said.

The school boasts a graduation rate of between 95 and 98%. 

After graduation, Rideout says keeping these newly certified nurses from leaving the Finger Lakes Region is the next step. 

"The visiting nurse service, different home care agencies come and talk with our students, and really have a time where they can meet the local recruiters to keep them here," Rideout said.

News10NBC asked Sienna Marie Tantillo, a registered nurse and a student in the graduate program, what has kept her in Rochester so far.

"I think my biggest incentive for staying here is definitely where I work. I worked in other units before, but I definitely like the team-based aspect of where I work," Tantillo said.

Dean Rideout says the School of Nursing plans to add more buildings sometime in the future to accommodate the future increase in student enrollment.

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