Nursing Program

If you're looking for a job, Wallace Community College is offering a nursing assistant program during the month of February.

It's based on the American Red Cross nursing assistant curriculum and prepares participants for the state exam.

Jobs are readily available in the Wiregrass area for certified nursing assistants.

Upon passing the state exam, graduates are certified and placed on the Alabama State Registry as a certified nursing assistant.

The course will be held weekdays, Feb. 4 through Feb. 27. For more information call 334-983-3521, extension 2345 or 2343.

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The Growing Need for Nurses

  • Just as the legion of baby boomers is about to swell the need for quality health care, America's nursing population is aging and more nurses are moving into primary care settings. The result: America's hospitals and other institutions need more nurses, especially those who deliver specialized care.

  • Front-page newspaper stories paint a picture of a nursing shortage born of increased patient loads and escalating pressure to treat more people, more quickly for less money. Second, highly visible patient and professional complaints about managed care in the early 1990s have discouraged young people from entering the nursing profession. These complaints have led many guidance counselors to advise students not to enter the profession. Just as the health care needs of an aging population are increasing, some segments of the public are encouraging students to choose alternative careers.

The Changing Reality of Nursing

  • While shortages have occurred in health care throughout history, and especially since World War II, experts are finding that the developing nursing shortage is uniquely serious. It is considered both a supply and a demand shortage, combining a broad range of issues that include: steep population growth in several states, a diminishing pipeline of new students to nursing, an aging workforce and a baby boom bubble that will require intense health care services. These issues are occurring just as the majority of nurses are retiring and job opportunities within health care are expanding.

  • The shortage is worldwide. Already Canada, England, Ireland, the Philippines, Australia and Western Europe are reporting significant nursing shortages.

Declining Enrollments

  • Complicating matters is the fact that hospitals are increasingly looking for nurses with at least a baccalaureate degree, and enrollment in baccalaureate programs is on the decline. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, entry-level BSN enrollment fell 4.6 percent in fall 1999, dropping for the fifth year in a row.

Baby Boom Bubble

  • The baby boom of 1946 to 1964 was followed by the 11-year baby bust, when the birth rate fell to a low of 146 births per 1,000. As of the 1990 census, there were 77 million American boomers compared with just 44 million Generation Xers, creating the smallest pool of entry-level workers since the 1930s. Now employers must worry about finding enough good people for needed positions. This holds true in health care and specifically nursing. Projections from the U.S. Census Bureau show as one generation grows and the other shrinks, the boomer-to-buster ratio may fall from 1.74 in 1990 to 1.6 in 2010.

More Key Facts on the Nursing Shortage

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs for RNs will grow 23 percent by 2008. That's faster than the average for all other occupations.

  • About half of the RN workforce will reach retirement age in the next 15 years.

  • The average age of new RN graduates is 31. They are entering the profession at an older age and will have fewer years to work than nurses traditionally have had.

  • There have been fewer new graduates hired in the last four to five years. Without the new graduates, there are fewer nurses available to replace those that retire or that leave for other opportunities.

Source: Nurse For A Healthier Tomorrow (NHT) [www.nursesource.org]


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