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Central Texas high school students filled the classrooms at Texas State University’s Round Rock campus on Wednesday.

Health care professionals hope they may be a solution to a much larger problem.

“Our shortage is pretty substantial,” said Ashley King, the director of health care partnerships with Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Nursing is the larger shortage that we have in health care, and with an expected 6 percent increase in the next 10 years.”

Students from nine different Central Texas school districts attended the nursing academy.

“I’m hoping to take away a couple of skills and a little more knowledge about the field as well,” said Natalie Lee, a senior at Pflugerville ISD.

Students like Lee know they’re interested in the medical field, but this is a chance to experience what a path in nursing might look like.

“I have a lot of career changes and what I want to do in my life because of these events,” said Lee.

Their help would come from not just future patients, but a health care system filled with vacancies.

“Of course, we need nurses and healthcare providers to help others,” said Lexie Espinoza, a senior at Pflugerville ISD. “Without that, it would be a big struggle, so definitely that has an impact on me wanting to actually be a nurse.”

King said the shortage in Central Texas is partly due to the area’s growth.


“With all the new hospitals that are coming, the expansions of the current hospitals, our need for nurses is huge here in Central Texas,” said King.

Organizers hope getting high school students in a college nursing classroom now will be a step in the right direction for the future by filling the shortage so many local hospitals are seeing.

“Nursing is one of those things that people know and recognize the name of at least, but I think as far as letting them know about programs that are here in Central Texas is really important,” said King.

King said they do hands-on training day twice a year for high schoolers. They switch campuses each time.

Early on during COVID, they stopped doing it, and she said they watched enrollment in local nursing programs drop, which means they think this program is making a difference.

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