Sunday, October 15, 2006

On Nursing

From the Times Picayune, we get a story about the nursing shortage in New Orleans, and the nursing shortage generally across the United States. The meat of it is here:
Rather than scrimmage for nurses in the tight local market, East Jefferson General Hospital dispatched its chief operating officer in August to the Philippines, a former U.S. territory that annually sends thousands of English-speaking nurses overseas.

Sixty-one Filipino nurses have agreed to trade in their meager wages for life in a struggling foreign city. The immigration process is arduous, however, involving a visa application, background check and a nursing certification exam, and some of East Jefferson's newest workers will not arrive for six months to a year.
There is a nursing shortage, not just in New Orleans, but throughout the United States. A Google search for Nursing Position turns up approximately 12.5 million responses.

Milady is a nurse, and the mail she gets from headhunter firms is incredible. The nursing magazines that find their way to our mailbox reveal that the leading hospitals in the leading markets are looking for nurses.

A hospital can't function without nurses. Doctors give orders, nurses ensure care. Hospitals realize that there is a nursing shortage, so they recruit nurses.

One nurse of my acquaintance recently moved to Texas. She found a job within hours of landing on the ground. My sister is contemplating a move from Knoxville to the Alexandria area. She found a job over the phone. A licensed, registered nurse can find a job just about anywhere with good salary and benefits. If you want a career in the military, nurses do well in uniform. If you want to travel, there are nursing agencies that provide temp jobs across the United States.

Nursing colleges are at full capacity. They turn away applicants every semester based on the number of available instructors. From the same article:
Kishner says there also has been a bottleneck at universities, which turn away nursing school applicants because of a perpetual shortage of instructors. That shortage has become more acute since Katrina, as higher wages have helped keep veteran nurses at hospitals when they might otherwise go into teaching.
Nursing is not just for the ladies. It is an equal-employment career field. With specialized training, nurses command additional salary that employers are often happy to pay. Nurse-practioners are in strong demand, as are nurse-anesthesiologists. Trauma nurses are also in demand.

The down-side? There is a nursing shortage across the United States. Nurses often work long hours in less than optimum conditions. The work itself is demanding, stressful, sometimes heart-breaking. Nursing is a profession, rather than a job. It requires a dedication that sometimes causes stress at home. Milady, the love of my life, is currently finishing a string of 12 hour days that her employer requires, preparing for a certification by an accrediting agency. I haven't seen much of her lately. I support her in her career, and I'm thankful that we don't have small children in the home that need her.

If you're a college freshman or sophomore looking for a challenging career, consider nursing. If you're looking for a career change, consider nursing. The possibilites for a motivated, intelligent nurse are limitless.

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