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Title: Strategies to Encourage Selection of Nursing as a Career
Author: Vineta Mitchell

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The health care profession, specifically nursing is poised to change the face of health care as never before. Demand for quality nurses continues to escalate. There will be a need for more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2010. This paper will discuss strategies that will encourage individuals to select Nursing as a profession,

Strategies to Encourage Selection of Nursing as a Career

The health care profession, specifically nursing is poised to change the face of health care as never before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment among RNs will grow faster than average for all occupations through 2008. Demand for quality nurses continues to escalate. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 21% increase in the need for nurses nationwide from 1998 to 2008. There will be a need for more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2010. Nursing is the largest health care occupation with more than 2 million jobs available as of 2000. By 2015, 114,000 jobs for full-time RNs are expected to go unfilled nationwide. There was a net per capita growth of 22% in health services sector employment, comparable to the national growth rate of 21% As a result, the rising demand for RNs will outstrip the supply and focused studies document that supply and demand for RNs are already out of balance (HRSA, 2006).

In the past, a career in the health care profession, especially nursing, was considered an opportunity to save and improve lives, to teach people how to achieve better health, and to advocate for patients to make sure they had the best health care, every day. This writer feels that is no longer true. Although the demand is up for nurses, individuals' choosing healthcare profession as a career is not. The lack of the desire to choose a health care career in nursing is related to several things (Nash, 2004).

The changing desire of individuals wanting to enter the health care profession is influenced by higher acuity levels for hospitalized individuals, low starting salaries, inflexibility of hours worked, lack of complete and through training for the job. For example because the demand for nurses is so high, often not enough time is allowed for adequate training and assimilation of information in the clinical setting (Lubin, 1999).

In addition, the technological advances that require more skills are a factor as well. To compound the issue, there are decreasing enrollments at nursing schools, decreasing available qualified nursing instructors, rising standards of education and an aging workforce (HRSA, 2006). Despite the many challenges and rewards offered in the health care profession, individuals are not choosing the health care field as a career. Unless those issues deterring individuals from choosing nursing as a profession are corrected, this writer feels there will continue to be a lack of individuals choosing health care as a profession.

As the baby boomers in America continue to age and retire out of the workforce, there is an increased demands placed on the medical field. It is a well published fact that there is a decrease amount of individuals that are interested in a career in the health care field (Reid, 2003). There are less people entering the nursing profession than in any time before. The government, nursing schools and hospitals has been monitoring the problem for the last 10 years (HRSA, 2006). According to Lubin (1999), "Previous shortages have been about sufficient numbers of nurses, while this shortage appears to be about an increased demand for nurses with competence, skills and experience to meet patient demand for care in a changing health care system (p. 1)." Strategies need to be in place to help ease this shortage.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published the median income for RNs as $48,090 in 2002. The range was $33,970 to $69,670 based on geographic location and work experience. Nurse Managers made the most money, while care facility nurses made the least on average at $43,850. In order to increase the interest in a healthcare career in nursing, strategies to correct the salary deficits must be explored. The offering of sign-on bonuses or well paid per diem work would work as well (HRSA, 2006). The promotion of more flexible working hours for nurses is another strategy worth implementing. For example, in order to attract and retain nurses, many of whom prefer to work part-time during their child-bearing and rearing years, it would behoove hospitals to have reduced hours that must be worked per week in order to be eligible for benefits from 20 to 16 (Nash, 2004).

Other strategies for attracting individuals back to the healthcare field would include assisting individuals in obtaining education and training required to enter and advance within the nursing profession (Lubin, 1999). Career counseling and mentoring to high school students must happen. Letting individuals know that there are other pathways for them in nursing. It must be communicated that Nursing is no longer confined to the bedside. Today's nurses can now be found in professional venues once thought impossible.

Nurses now have the ability to choose career opportunities in non-hospital settings, which often provide more predictable work hours and less arduous responsibilities than hospital nursing. Nurses influence legislation, change health care delivery systems, write and publish, educate about disease prevention and health promotion, and participate on boards of directors. Interested individuals will develop an in-depth understanding of differentiated practice roles and the distinct and complimentary responsibilities of the nursing assistant, practical nurse and professional nurse through a highly structured and mentored co-op clinical experience. Getting the word out about the versatility of the health care profession is a must (HRSA, 2006).

An increase in the multiple points of entry into the nursing schools, including encouraging individuals to earn higher degrees, and helping graduates with other degrees move into nursing would be an incentive as well. The offering of career ladder program which promote career advancement for nursing personnel in a variety of training settings, cross training or specialty training among diverse population groups and the advancement of individuals to become advanced education nurses (Nash, 2004).

The Nursing Shortage and it's affects on healthcare worldwide are a major concern to politicians, healthcare workers, economists, and consumers alike. Where jobs may be scarce in some fields, healthcare jobs are growing exponentially. Because the health care profession must compete within a vibrant economy that offers unprecedented opportunities for women, strategies must be in place if the issues are to be corrected (Lubin, 1999). The healthcare industry must offer better salaries, incentives and more benefits to attract individuals to the healthcare field.

Andersen, R. (2001). Changing the U.S. health care system: Key issues in health
services policy and management, (2nd ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

HouseReps (2005). House reps hear from governors at medicaid hearing, Retrieved 12 Dec 2005, from

HRSA (2006). Nursing. Division of Nursing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Retrieved 29 March 2006, from

HRSA, 2006.) The michigan health workforce: Highlights from the health workforce profile.US Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Health Professions
Retrieved 31 March 2006, from

Lubin, V. (1999). The environmental scan: The new nursing shortage. UMDNJ the
Department of Planning, Retrieved 03/30/06, from

MDCH (2005). Michigan medicaid statistics, retrieved 12 Dec 2005, from

Nash, M. (2004, Apr). Globalization impacts the healthcare organization of the 21st
century: Demanding new ways to market product lines successfully. Nursing
Administration Quarterly, 28 (2), pp 86-91, Retrieved 03/30/06, from

Reid, R. (2003). Patient-focused care over time: Issues related to measurement,
prevalence, and strategies for improvement among patient populations. Retrieved 08
July 2005, University of phoenix,

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