TEXAS — Nurses are no strangers to illnesses, but COVID-19 posed an added risk to one who is living with an autoimmune disorder.

What You Need To Know

  • Attention brought on by COVID-19 could help close the gap in nurse staffing

  • Number of registered nurses is expected to grow by 30% by 2032

“We’re all kind of tired, to be honest," said Shannon Dayton, a nurse. “I’m managing Type 1 diabetes and caring for COVID patients, and making sure I’m caring for myself is tricky. It’s not easy.”

But she’s not one to quit when it gets hard.

“For me, it’s almost not a question like, I’ll be there. If I’m needed, I’ll be there. You know what I mean?" Dayton said. "I don’t know about other nurses but I’m sure they feel the burden of being short at work.”

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the decades-old nursing shortage, forcing nurses like Dayton to choose between their well-being and their calling.

Shannon Dayton (credit: Shannon Dayton)
Shannon Dayton (credit: Shannon Dayton)

“They’ve been stretched to their max to some degree," said Texas Nursing Association's Serena Bumpus. “It’s been a very stressful time for our nurses and our frontline healthcare workers.”

According to the Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, the number of registered nurses is expected to grow by 30 percent by 2032, but the demand is also expected to rise, leaving a 16 percent deficit.

However, Bumpus says the attention brought on by COVID could help close the gap.

“We are seeing a really positive response as a result of the fact that this pandemic propelled nursing to the forefront,” she said.