As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in hospitals across metro Atlanta, the number of nurses is going down.

Many metro-Atlanta hospitals are reporting nursing shortages, at a time when healthcare workers are needed the most.

“I do think it has reached a crisis level,” said Dr. Jennifer Hoilman, the Associate Dean of Nursing at South College’s Atlanta Campus.

A nursing shortage in Georgia as the state faces it's deadliest public health crisis in recent history.

“My nursing colleagues that I talk to out in the field are certainly feeling it,” added Dr. Hoilman.

Burnout from the pandemic -- not helping with retention -- but also inspiring a new generation.

“We are certainly seeing a great number of students who are motivated by COVID,” Dr. Hoilman said.

South College’s Atlanta campus launched the master’s program in nursing to help address the need for nurses that public health officials say has reached “crisis level.”

This new program started in 2018, they will be celebrating their first graduating class in March...and the help can't come soon enough.

“If there aren’t enough nurses to go around for our patients, it certainly decreases the safety,” said Dr. Hoilman.

The need for help shows in Georgia's death toll.

The state reporting it's deadliest day of the pandemic Tuesday -- 170 lives lost in just the last 24 hours.

And sadly, the shortage is trend that's not going away.

The American Nurses Association says by 2022, there will be far more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession.

“It’s a problem because there’s no care for our elderly, our children, our families…just the population in general,” Dr. Hoilman added.

She said it’s obvious that this pandemic has made people appreciate healthcare workers, especially nurses, a whole lot more.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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