More nurses are getting trained to treat older patients

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – With life expectancy going up and a growing aging population, nurses and healthcare workers are needed more than ever.

ECU College of Nursing and ECU Health launched an initiative together to train more nurses to work in acute care for older patients..

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be 77 million people aged 65 years and older by 2034.

The health care this growing population needs out-paces the number of nurses, especially with more nurses leaving the profession from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

With this new initiative, more nurses can be trained to work with the sickest patients while advancing their education as well.

Dr. Bim Akintade, the Dean of the ECU College of Nursing says, “Nurse practitioners here are able to independently see patients, collect data, diagnose their patients, and manage their care so this actually going to help out our physician colleagues.”

ECU Health’s Chief Nursing Executive Trish Baise says that this initiative aims to solve rural health challenges not just in Pitt County but in all of Eastern North Carolina.

“An aging population. We have a population with a lot of challenging, ongoing, significant health care needs so this program will train our nurse practitioners very specifically for those populations,” Baise shared.

The nursing students in training will be taking online classes and doing clinical practices at ECU Health, with the majority being Greenville-based.