SHREVEPORT, La -- Nurses are often the most important people in the recovery of hospital patients. In Louisiana hospitals, there are not enough of them.
There is a nursing shortage in Louisiana.
Dr. G.E. Ghali, LSU Health Shreveport chancellor, said Ochsner LSU Health alone is short between 150 to 200 nurses. But he said all hospitals across the state are facing the same situation.
“Particularly in the private hospitals at night, most of the doctors go home, but the nurses have to stay. And so it's continuous, probably every eight-hour shift, you have to have a new group of nurses coming in,” Ghali said. “So it takes quite a few really skilled nurses 24/7 to be available, and there's just an incredible shortage.”
Ghali says agency nurses from other states are hired to fill the gap.
In an effort to begin a process to train more in-state nurses, the LSU Health system is expanding a doctoral nursing program. The Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia program on the New Orleans campus is expanding to train additional students on the Shreveport campus. Ghali said he hopes this program is the start of something bigger.
“It will allow us in the very near future to look towards the possibility of it becoming our own freestanding program here in Shreveport, and then look simultaneously at the possibility of expanding other nursing services, including undergraduate nursing, graduate nursing programs, looking at master's and Ph.D. programs,” he said.
Ghali said another reason there is a nursing shortage is because there is a shortage of nurse educators, who must have a master's degree or doctorate. Hospital officials are looking at the possibility of creating a graduate school of nursing on the LSU Health Shreveport campus.