In search of a million new nurses

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The state may feel the impact of a nursing shortage within the next decade, if predictions are correct. In reaction to this possibility, health care providers are looking more and more to nursing students to fill potential gaps in the field. As a result, many nursing students already have jobs lined up by their first year in nursing school. These kinds of agreements often come in exchange for financial aid.

Some say as many as 1 million new nurses may be needed by the year 2012, but currently there aren’t enough students to meet that need. This is where places like Chilton County come into play.

Jefferson State Community College will eventually offer nursing as a field of study here at the Clanton campus. This will provide opportunities for local people who are interested in becoming nurses, especially for those who are limited in the area of transportation.

A nursing school here will play a part in filling the gap both locally and around the state and region. In this way, in addition to providing more jobs within Chilton County, the college will train people to fill great needs both here and elsewhere.

The more training opportunities and incentives there are, the closer we are to finding a solution to this problem. The existence of a college here will create possibilities for some who otherwise might not have the means to pursue a particular career.

The addition of just one college, or many colleges, is by no means a solution to a nationwide problem, however. Any true solution will encompass several areas including health care practitioners, government and even the media. All of these have a role in the public’s perception of the profession, which has become increasingly negative.

People tend to see nursing as a high-stress profession with a risk for error that seems to scare them. If we can help turn this image around, then perhaps more people will want to become nurses.