This post is the third in a series on nursing job opportunities.
Nurses seeking employment will need to change their focus. But the need to change does not only rest with new graduates, the need to change also rests with administrators and educators to better prepare new nurses for the changing healthcare environment.
Many administrators have already begun to accept new graduates into non-traditional areas like emergency departments and critical care areas by waving the traditional “two years of experience” standard that has existed for years. With new and innovative orientation and education programs new graduates have met with success in these areas.
Staffing agencies should also consider opportunities for nurses with less experience. Perhaps a staffing agency could create a pool of new graduate nurses in partnership with hospitals, as a flexible resource pool, and in return for a reduced rate, the hospital and agency could provide valuable training and experience for these nurses.
Educators also have a responsibility bring new energy and excitement to areas not traditionally considered by new graduates. With the growing population of elderly requiring skilled care the possibilities for nurses are almost endless. Healthcare is crying out for new and innovative nurse-run programs for the elderly and those challenged by behavioral issues. Nursing educators and nursing school faculty must build interest in areas which reflect the trends in healthcare or others will be quick to fill these needs.
So my answer to new graduates when I am stopped is that the need for skilled nurses will continue to slowly grow over the next decade. By the year 2020 the need for nurse will be as strong as ever, but that those needs will be in non-traditional areas of healthcare.
Our challenge now is to respond to these growing needs and once again demonstrate the value of professional nursing to the healthcare needs of our nation.