BELLEVUE, Wis. (WFRV) – The nationwide shortage of registered nurses is getting worse with each passing month. Nursing was number five for the most “in-demand” job in February 2021, according to a recent study from St. Augustine University.

As of now, more than 2.1 million nurses are needed for the shortfall. Here in northeast Wisconsin, Bellin College is preparing for the next generation of nurses.

“I’ll be a fourth-generation nurse when I graduate here,” said Jensen Knavis. For students like her, nursing is in her blood. “I’ve always had this passion for caring for people and making a difference, so I think that’s why I decided to come into healthcare.”

“COVID-19 has really lead me to ICU nursing,” said Aurora Delebreau. She’s one of the seniors who also juggles class while working at a hospital. “With COVID, it’s been really hard. There’s been a lot of patients on ventilators, a lot of patients that are extremely sick. I’ve had times where you’re holding three, or four devices trying to FaceTime families because they can’t be there.”

The students know, more than ever, their help is needed — and fast.

“I wanted something that spends a lot more time with patients,” said senior Emma Barfknecht. “I really like to talk to people. I like to make connections with people.”

Bellin College has a lot more than just nursing. It also has programs for medical imaging, and even graduate programs on physical therapy. And, just like medicine itself, times are much different inside a hospital now than even just a few years ago.

“It definitely changed a lot,” said Barfknecht. “It’s a different kind of nursing than it was before, but you’re still helping people. Probably even more now.”

Something echoed by her fellow students.

“For me, it’s just that true innate call to help people — and be there for them in the most difficult times.”

In the end, the pandemic doing a lot more for the future of healthcare than you might expect.

“I was like, I have no idea if this is for me, but it definitely helped solidify my spot here in the healthcare field,” added Knavis.

To learn more about Bellin College’s programs, visit its website.