I am writing in reference to a Nov. 29 letter to the editor, “Second-career recruitment could solve nurse shortage.”

I am an ongoing supporter and past board member of the MUSC College of Nursing. I want to commend the letter writer for proposing the recruitment of older individuals to obtain second degrees in nursing. This is indeed an important way of alleviating our dire nursing shortage and facilitating a meaningful career option.

I am pleased to inform the public that the MUSC College of Nursing is already providing this service. The college recruits and educates hundreds of second-career students and provides $1.2 million in scholarships each year, some of which are designated for “Veterans in Nursing.” Of the roughly 250 undergraduate students enrolled at the MUSC College of Nursing annually, two-thirds of them come with a bachelor’s degree in another field. This accelerated program can be completed in 16 months, and 95 percent of graduates secure a position within three months of graduation.

The biggest bottleneck for nursing is not a shortage of potential students, but a lack of faculty and resources to admit more students. According to a recent report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, U.S. nursing schools turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2016 due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints. Almost two-thirds of the nursing schools surveyed identified a shortage of faculty or clinical preceptors as a reason for not accepting all qualified applicants.

There is much work to be done. I would encourage those interested in helping to address the nursing shortage locally to get involved with the leading university offering nursing education in our area, MUSC College of Nursing, by contacting Anahita Modaresi at modaresi@musc.edu.

Kay K. Chitty

W. Shipyard Road

Mount Pleasant