Pipefitters needed for nursing shortage

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published January 1, 2003  | January 2003 issue

The nation is seeing a nursing shortage virtually everywhere, including Wisconsin. Efforts are being made by Wisconsin health care facilities to attract nurses, but in some cases it appears that the supply-demand pipeline needs better alignment.

For example, a Milwaukee-based hospital with a 15 percent nursing vacancy rate handed out $100 gift certificates to about 200 nurses willing to fill out an application and meet with recruiters. Another health care system recently hired better than 100 nurses from India.

At the same time, the state's technical colleges are reporting that they can't keep up with the student demand to enter the nursing field, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Schools reportedly have about 6,000 slots for nursing students, but demand is three to four times that level. Shortages of both classroom space and qualified teachers are the biggest obstacles to opening up enrollment, and some schools have had to establish student waiting lists—some as long as two to three years.

Ronald A. Wirtz