Charter school aims to fight nursing shortage


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A charter school for students interested in nursing is currently being developed to help solve the nationwide nursing shortage. 

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association is currently applying for a charter to bring a regional public high school to the area, hoping to increase the number of baccalaureate-degree registered nurses to 80 percent by 2020. 

“The baby boomers are retiring at just high rates of speed, and that’s a problem since the baby boomer generation had about 77 million people in it,” said Betsy Snook, CEO of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association. 

Nursing school, additionally, is a difficult curriculum, however, the Pennsylvania Nurses Middle College Charter High School looks to address that by offering students grades 9-12 an upper hand before college. 

“The curriculum will be augmented with some of the principles, policies, procedure-like things that they would get in a nursing school,” Snook said. 

The tuition-free charter school will offer dual enrollment with local colleges as well as partnerships with local hospitals to assist with education, summer employment, and paid internships. 

“For our first year, we are looking at 100 students and we would like to increase that by 100 each year,” Snook said. 

Currently, the association is looking at the Old State Hospital grounds but is open to other options within the Harrisburg area.  

“This is one of those things where we know we have a need. We are actively seeking to address that need and we believe this school, the Pennsylvania Nurses Middle College Charter High School is the way to go,” Snook said. 

The nurses association hopes to have the charter school up and running by the fall of 2020. 

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