Yasith Weerasuriya Discusses the Nursing Shortage

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 24 percent increase in the number of jobs for registered nurses from 2012 to 2022. In California, this anticipated growth rate is even higher at 41 percent, contributing to California having the largest nursing workforce. Yet, despite these projections, experts predict a shortage that could reach up to 1 million nurses by 2020. This means that despite the country’s need for more nurses, only about one out of every four nursing school graduates will be able to find a job opening in their chosen profession.

Yasith Weerasuriya, President of Stanbridge University, is not immune to this changing trend. Since the early 2000s, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistently reported that the demand for healthcare professionals will increase, but the supply is lacking behind. To solve this problem, Mr. Weerasuriya explains that “the crux is on education and training.”

Weerasuriya believes in equal responsibility between educational institutions, professional bodies, academic teaching departments, government, faculty, students, and the public. This means that all parties involved are accountable for ensuring an adequate supply of nursing professionals to meet the demand.

“We have roles that everyone has to play on this team,” Weerasuriya says. 

The solution lies in involving individuals of various demographics in the cause. Weerasuriya suggests, “We need to inspire more youth, women, and minorities to choose careers in the health care fields.”

Soaring tuition rates at public institutions is another obstacle for students attempting to find their way into nursing programs across the country. However, like many other universities, Stanbridge University offers nursing degrees on campus and online because of the flexibility it allows its students.

“It’s about providing the best education possible to prepare someone for a career in nursing, whether they choose to work in their community or travel around the world,” Weerasuriya says. “And we are one of few schools that offers online degree programs with an accelerated format at affordable prices.”

Stanbridge has been recognized for its exceptional programs as an institution that genuinely invests in the success of its students. In 2012, Stanbridge University was awarded a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges. And the university’s occupational therapy assistant program ranked first in Student Satisfaction and Quality by graduating classes from 2005 to 2012. According to the same source, Stanbridge’s physical therapy assistant program also ranks first in Academic Excellence and Faculty Credentials and Training. In addition, Stanbridge University prides itself on the commitment of its faculty and advisors who ensure its students’ success.

Weerasuriya understands that there is a shortage in the nursing industry, but he believes that quality education is key to providing enough nurses for the future. In addition, he says, “We need to provide more educational opportunities for our students because it’s rewarding watching someone grow through the process of earning their degree.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a rise in job openings for registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and veterinary technologists and technicians. Nursing and physical therapy are just a couple of the healthcare fields affected by this projected growth.

The Bureau’s report also highlights the expected change in the distribution of those working in these professions by setting forth new opportunities for those with an associate degree and those with a baccalaureate degree or higher. Weerasuriya agrees, saying, “Once our students are ready to take on these positions, they will have more opportunities than ever before.”