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'They're heroes', TCC nursing enrollment on the rise, paying tribute to healthcare workers on frontlines of pandemic

Posted at 4:03 AM, Nov 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-06 04:03:00-04

A new generation of healthcare heroes are stepping in to bridge the shortage in workers.

Tallahassee Community College nursing student Christina Crumb describes the nurses on the front lines as "absolutely inspiring".

She, along with her classmates Austin Lindauer and Stacy-Ann Wilson, look to their hard work as "humbling" and "motivational".

Lindauer remembers when he had his first clinical and got to work alongside nurses in the hospital.

"It was just very encouraging, but also very humbling to see how incredibly hard they were working," Lindauer said. "It was eye opening to be like, 'oh, that's going to be me one day.'"

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, enrollment in nursing programs across the United States increased nearly 6 percent in 2020 from the year before.

That's something TCC is seeing first hand.

Dean of healthcare professions Stephanie Soloman said they've increased enrollment size to keep up with the demand.

"Even before the pandemic their was a shortage, but I believe the pandemic has increased the number of nurses we're in need of," Soloman said.

Soloman said back in 2017, local hospitals asked TCC to increase their enrollment to keep up with the shortage.

She says they use to accept 48 students every fall and spring - but their up to 76.

Their goal is to eventually double their original amount to at least 200 students.

With this many students, they're hoping to fill a future gap.

Florida Hospital association said they've found in a study the next 10 years, Florida hospitals will be in need of 60-thousands nurses if this continues.

"You know, nurses have it hard being in the profession, but being in it now I had no idea just how hard it was, so my respect for nurses is enormous," Crumb said. "Especially during the pandemic to see everything they're going through."

That's why these students said they're ready to get to work and become the new healthcare heroes.