The University System of Georgia is expanding the state’s nursing programs.

The Board of Regents Tuesday approved a measure that will allow Darton College in Albany, and Georgia Highlands College in Rome, to offer four-year programs in nursing.

Georgia could be 38,000 nurses short in 10 years, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Fran Bell with the Georgia Nurses Association says current nurses may be having trouble finding jobs, but that’s about to change.

“The fact of the matter is the hard economic time we’ve experienced made some nurses delay retirement because they needed to work. Now that things are getting better I think you’re really going to be seeing the effects of the shortage.”

Bell says the board’s approval of a new doctorate program in nursing at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville will increase the number of nurse educators in the state.

“We have tons of qualified applicants applying for nursing schools in Georgia, but we don’t have the faculty to teach them”

Bell says better-trained nurses are needed as baby boomers retire.