MANOA, Hawaii (KHON2) — Hawaii has a shortage of about 1,000 nurses, according to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Part of the issue is there is not enough instructors, but the State took steps to solve that on Thursday, Oct. 13.

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A total of $1.75 million is going to support University of Hawaii nursing programs across the Islands. The director of the State Center for Nursing said it could not come at a better time.

“Last academic year, 65% of application submitted to the UH system RN [registered nurse] programs were denied admissions because we did not have education capacity,” said Laura Reichhardt, Hawaii State Center for Nursing director.

Gov. David Ige was in attendance to make the announcement.

“The $1.75 million addresses the immediate nursing shortage of faculty here in the state by funding 39 new UH system nursing instructor positions across the state.”

Gov. David Ige

Below is a breakdown of where the new lecturers will be headed across the UH system.

  • UH Hilo:  12 lecturers
  • UH Manoa: 8 lecturers
  • Hawaii Community College:  4 lecturers
  • Kapiolani Community College:  9 lecturers
  • Maui Community College: 3 lecturers
  • Kauai Community College: 3 lecturers

Officials said the new positions will be able to educate 230 additional nursing students each year.

“And just to give you context,” said UH president David Lassner, “right now there’s about 770 nursing students. So, this is a huge, huge boost to our capacity.”

One UH Manoa nursing student was happy to hear the news.

“I thought that it was a really good thing, I’m really glad that the support is there,” said fifth semester nursing student Natalie Welch. “You get to help the patients in a way other health professionals may not be able to.

President Lassner was thankful, but added more funding will be need to be released because nursing students usually need four years of school.

“Sorry, but we’ll be back because this was one year of funding and it takes up to four years,” Lassner said, “as you heard, to become a nurse. So, we’re going to need your help to make sure that this is a steady investment until we overcome the shortages.”

Welch said her teachers have always been effective, supportive and accommodating.

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“But having more instructors is always something that the University needs, because to address the nursing shortage, we need more instructors to teach more students so that we can have more nursing students and nurses in the workforce,” Welch said.