AUSTIN (KXAN) — The need for nurses is growing across the nation, and Texas needs them badly.

Projections show the Lone Star State will need tens of thousands of nurses over the next few years.

“I’ll be there to help people and help them get out of the hospital,” said Orelia Daniels, a recent graduate of Austin Community College’s nursing program. “I am excited and I am ready to put my knowledge to work.”

Over the years, the demand for registered nurses has outpaced the supply, and that has left many job openings.

“I know when the time comes I am pretty sure I can find a job,” Daniels said.

Nina Almasy, department chair for professional nursing at ACC, says not only is there a need for nurses across the nation, but Texas has a growing need.

“The Texas Center for Workforce Studies projects a deficit of 57,000 RN FTE’s by the year 2032,” Almasy said.

So what is contributing to the shortage?

  • Retiring nurses or those choosing to leave the profession
  • The aging population and the increasing level of care patients require
  • Nursing burnout from the pandemic

An aging population, many nurses reaching retirement age and even the pandemic all have had impacts on the shortage, but Almasy says ACC has seen an increase in interest.

“In the last year we have seen an increase in demand and applications for the nursing program,” Almasy said.

Each semester, ACC’s nursing program takes in about 160 nursing students, and 138 students recently graduated from the program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual wages for nurses was about $75,000.