Professional nurses are still lacking

The new year promises new health care industry jobs around the country, but in some places, such as Indiana, a shortage of nursing instructors could lead to fewer trained nurses to fill those jobs. Indiana nursing programs rejected about 2,500 qualified applicants because of a lack of full-time faculty.

According to NPR, The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ top-ten list for high demand jobs in coming years includes several in the health field: registered nurses in first place, home health aids in second place, personal and home care aides in fifth place and nursing aides, orderlies and attendants in ninth place .

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports: “In the midst of a national nursing shortage, Indiana nursing programs rejected about 2,500 qualified applicants because of a lack of full-time faculty, according to a survey of state nursing programs. The 2008 survey by the Indiana Nursing Workforce Development Coalition said faculty shortages prevent nursing programs from maintaining a supply of qualified applicants. With a looming shortage of 260,000 nurses across the country by 2025, schools are trying to graduate as many nurses as possible. An additional 30,000 nurses need to graduate each year to meet the nation’s health care needs, according to the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, a national organization of health care leaders. Nationwide, nursing programs have turned away tens of thousands of qualified applicants because a lack of educators limits how much a school can increase enrollment” (Tompkins, 1/3).

Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reports on the experience of one nurse practitioner: “During the course of a typical day at the busy Kaplan Joint Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital, nurse practitioner Judy Walsh does everything from injecting medicine in someone’s knee to ease pain to negotiating with insurance companies to get tests and medications covered. As the sole ‘constant care’ provider — overseeing the patient’s progress from the initial call through the rehabilitation process — Walsh brings a caring style and medical expertise to a practice that also includes nine orthopedic surgeons. … The nurse practitioner role evolved in the mid-1960s in response to a nationwide shortage of physicians. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing and are licensed through the state and national organizations”

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