Report: Central Texas in 'crisis' for more nursing home nurses

Published: May. 15, 2018 at 5:49 PM CDT
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There's a growing healthcare crisis in Central Texas. The nursing shortage isn't new, but there's now a dire need for help in nursing homes.

The Texas Health Care Association said turnover is high for nursing home care facilities and there are challenges finding a qualified workforce. Their new report said the turnover rate for nurses in nursing homes and long term care facilities is more than 90 percent.

The turn over rate for Certified Nursing Assistants or Certified Nursing Aides is higher.

But, the demand for CNA's is also growing. Students at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station are learning how to care for others through a CNA program.

"I definitely realized the shortage of nurses and I think that kind of brought my attention to the necessity for, especially male nurses," said A&M Consolidated student Michael Caballero. For many going into the field, nursing homes are more of a place to start than a destination job.

“Starting off, I want to work in a nursing home so I can build my base up to go higher. What I really want to be is a surgeon," said A&M Consolidated student Naomi Henderson.

"You’ve got to start off small, so you might as well go and experience those things now," she said.

"What we would really like to do is encourage people to consider healthcare," said Wendy Goodrow, Executive Director with Broadmoor Place Senior Living Center. She said she's seen first hand the workforce challenges.

"We expect that we would get some applicants with a little more experience, so that we could put them to work immediately and that is a little bit hard to find," she said. When they do have openings, many of the applicants have had no prior experience giving senior care.

That's not the case with these Consol students.

"To obtain your CNA certification, you have to spend at least 40 hours in the actual nursing home. Our kids have rounded through the nursing home," said A&M Consolidated teacher Sara Agold.

Another challenge is addressing some stigmas with working in long term care.

“It’s a big challenge because a lot the positions in nursing homes are not the most glamorous jobs. A lot of our students are not looking in that avenue of nursing. They’re looking more for the specialty jobs and intensive care settings," said Blinn College Interim Director of the Associate Degree Nursing Program Karla Ross.

The study also says that nursing homes in Brazos County have a $37 million direct impact. They also say 7,459 nurses will be needed in Central Texas by 2030.

READ MORE: You can read the report published by the Texas Health Care Association. It is attached to this story.