COLUMBUS — Julia Montiel is a Registered Nurse at Columbus Regional Hospital. She started in September of 2019 and finished her orientation and training in January of 2020.
"January fourth or fifth was the first time on the floor by myself with orientation completed,” Montiel said.
Montiel was brand new at the job when COVID-19 cases started popping up. She said at first there was a lot of anxiety, but then she realized even nurses who had been in the job for years were feeling overwhelmed.
"It was unknown for the experienced nurses as well so I was able to jump in and say ok we'll all learn together and get it done,” Montiel said.
Now, more than a year after the pandemic started, Montiel is loving her role as a nurse. She’s also helping teach others the profession alongside her co-worker, Sasha.
"I think we're doing the best we can getting students in and curbing that nursing shortage,” Sasha said.
Sasha helps give nursing students hands-on training. With a shortage of nurses, she is also constantly on the lookout for students who she feels would be a good fit to hire in the future.
"We start recruiting students when they are here their sophomore year, that's their very first clinical,” Sasha explained.
This spring Sasha said there were fewer students in the program than years past, which was concerning. But, she recently met with area colleges about the upcoming semester and things are looking much better.
“It has blown up there is a lot of students coming this fall so it makes us very excited that people are still wanting to become nurses,” Sasha said.
Most of the nursing students coming to Columbus Regional are from Ivy Tech and IU School of Medicine. Montiel and Sasha believes more people are gaining interest in the profession because of what they observed with COVID-19.
"I think they saw the nurses step up and really take hold of this pandemic they are inspired by what they've seen nurses do this past year,” she said.