TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama doubled in size at a time when COVID-19 increased the strain on America’s healthcare system because of a nursing shortage.
“It got a little better prior to the pandemic, and then with the pandemic it got worse,” Suzanne Prevost said Monday.
Prevost, Dean of the College of Nursing, said it is now better prepared to train more nurses. The $14 million dollar expansion added another 32,000 square feet to the building. That space was needed for two large classrooms, added research space and more room for nursing students to sit and study in small groups, among the additions.
“There’s a lot of need for registered nurses. And we have a lot of really strong students who want to be nurses. So, we had to increase our capacity to accommodate them,” Prevost continued. Prevost admitted she was worried there might be a drop in interest to become a nurse when people saw what some nurses and doctors went through without enough to Personnel Protective Equipment to care for COVID-positive patients. But instead, the opposite happened.
“It has really increased the public sentiment for nursing, showing it to be a very noble profession and so desperately needed right now in the country,” Prevost concluded.
Prevost said the school expects to graduate around 550 nursing students this year. She added its getting more applications for students who want to apply to nursing school at Alabama.