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Violence at work is among factors driving Arizona nursing shortage

Coverage of aging is supported in part by AARP Arizona

Arizona is facing a shortage of nurses; and the state could feel the sting of empty positions as early as next year. 

Dr. Barbara Halle is the vice president of nursing regulatory affairs at Arizona College of Nursing. She says the state is projected to have about 28,000 fewer registered nurses than needed by 2025. The reasons?

"First the baby boomer generation is continuing to age and retire. At the same time, the general population is rapidly expanding," she explains.

Nurses are also getting older and retiring.

"The American Association of Colleges of Nursing anticipates 1 million nurses will retire by 2030, with 10,000 of those nurses being here in Arizona."

Halle says many qualified nursing students are not being admitted into nursing school because of capacity issues.

There’s something else, too, she explains. 

" There’s workplace violence and I don't know if the public is aware of that, but many nurses can suffer battery in their duties as a nurse," Halle said.

Halle says the sectors that are hit the hardest by this nursing shortage are within hospitals and emergency care. 

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Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.