NC health care systems are fighting a nursing shortage

Brittany Samuels says a scholarship helped her stay in school to become a nurse.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nursing shortages started before the pandemic, but the added strain of COVID-19 has driven even more nurses out of the profession. 


What You Need To Know

  • A study finds North Carolina could face a shortage of 12,500 registered nurses by 2033
  • They say adding incentives will help
  • Atrium and Novant Health teamed up to create a scholarship that will put employees through nursing school


According to the North Carolina Nursecast, which is a partnership between UNC and the State Board of Nursing, the Tar Heel state faces an estimated shortage of 12,500 registered nurses by 2033.

The study says increasing graduation rates, retaining current nurses and adding incentives will be a key to turning these numbers around. 

To change that number, both Novant Health and Atrium Health teamed up to offer scholarships through both of their health care systems. 

Before the program launched in 2018, Brittany Samuels, a Novant employee, was working at the Novant Cotswold Medical Clinic while attending nursing school.

“Being here Monday through Friday and going to nursing school Monday through Friday, it was almost impossible,” Samuels said. 

She was also paying for nursing school completely out-of-pocket. She almost quit, until she found out about the scholarship program. 

Samuels was one of the first five recipients to be awarded this scholarship. 

“It’s surreal, never thought I’d be at this point in my life,” she said. 

She’s now one of 75 nurses who received either Atrium Health’s RN Educational Assistance Program Scholarship or Novant Health’s Upward Mobility RN Scholarship. 

Novant’s program is getting some added help through a $96,000 grant that will help five additional students in both Charlotte and Winston-Salem working toward becoming registered nurses. 

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