Future nurses program encouraging young Valley students
A new effort to bring an end to the statewide nursing shortage is in place.
Texas is experiencing the worst shortage in history because of the pandemic.
Ten students from Sam Houston Elementary's future nurses program got a first-hand look into the medical field at South Texas Health System Hospital in McAllen.
"I've always wanted to be a nurse of a doctor," fifth grader Mariah Elizondo said.
"It's my first time, and I feel nervous," fourth grader Miranda Rivera said.
The hands on presentation allowed third to fifth grade students to learn basic skills that nurses perform everyday on the job.
"They learn everything, from the basics equipment of nursing — they learn about medications, and just basic care community care including handwashing, and we try to teach the little ones, the older ones how to handwash," Sam Houston Elementary Registered Nurse Grace Cavazos said.
The demand for nurses remain high following the peak of the pandemic.
At South Texas Health System alone, more than 100 nursing positions need to be filled.
STHS is hoping to encourage kids to pursue a career in the medical field.
Statewide, Texas is seeing its worst nursing shortage in history, according to the State Health Department.
State data shows vacancies for registered nurses has tripled, from six percent in 2019 to 17% in 2022.
"Our goal for today is to expose them to options in healthcare, so what is it that they could do that could be our healthcare leaders of tomorrow," System Chief Nursing Officer for STHS Kennetha Foster said. "So, we're exposing them in options in pharmacy and nursing, of course."