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      Nursing Students Tackle Shortage In Industry and Future Influx Of New Patients

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      Nursing students look ahead to helping their future patients, especially as more people take advantage of the Affordable Care Act.

      The UNK College of Nursing, along with four other campuses, held a white coat ceremony Friday for the nearly 50 UNK students entering the UNMC program.

      Kearney officials say as their campus expands, so does the amount of students coming in.

      "We're growing, we're going to be adding 8 students to the group next fall, then eight the subsequent fall, as well as some graduate students," said UNK College of Nursing Interim Assistant Dean Dr. Mary Ann Mertz. "And that's the one thing the new building allows us to do is grow a little bit, and all of us baby boomers are going to be retiring real soon, so we're going to need these nurses."

      And it's these nurses who say they are ready to help the influx of patients, who soon may need healthcare, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

      "There's people out there who may have been too scared, they were worried about the cost so they may be able to go get the help they need," said nursing student Theresa Bougger. "And they might just need a little more education now as to how they change their lifestyle to keep themselves healthy. They might need a course of treatment but we're going to be there to help them along that path."

      These nurses will be out at different community events this fall before starting their hospital training in January.
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