Now to explore another issue that affects nursing today. Yes, there is a nursing shortage and yes there is an aging population that require more and better care; yes there is a great need for more nurses. However, we are in a recession (or maybe depression) and businesses everywhere are looking to cut back.
This creates two distinct problems for nurses, both experienced and new graduates. First, as this article states, some positions that are open are simply not being filled to save money. Staff salary is always the biggest expenditure for any hospital or clinic. To a business person, cutting back on staff is simply good fiscal management. However, the flip side is the loss of quality of care provided and the stress and “burn-out” experienced by the nurses left to carry the load of more and sicker patients.
For new nurses, my advice is to look to other types of nursing besides critical care, intensive care and emergency care. There are many other types of nurses out there and jobs are still available for these areas. Also, as the article describes, look outside of the urban neighborhoods to small community hospitals and clinics.
September 29, 2009
Overall growth in the industry still expected
By MICHAEL L. DIAMOND
Mabel Martino graduated from Brookdale Community College’s nursing program in May, confident that she had chosen a career where the demand would never fade.She had seen the statistics that showed Americans are using more health care. She had heard the stories about employers searching far and wide to find qualified nurses.Four months after she graduated? “You really were expecting to leave school and say, “We have a job,’ ” said Martino, a 41-year-old Barnegat resident. “It’s not that way.
“Recent nursing school graduates, who not long ago could have written their ticket, are facing a tight job market. They are told to come back when they get experience. They are looking at their second and third options.In short, they are getting caught in the same trap that hard-pressed workers in other fields are in. Employers are cutting costs and existing workers aren’t leaving. The big difference is, this is one profession that was supposed to be a sure bet.
“Nursing grads (usually) want to go to the acute-care hospital to start their career,” said Colleen Manzetti, assistant dean of social science and human services/nursing division at Ocean County College in Toms River. “Today, they have to be a little more creative and a little more open-minded and go to other facilities and get experience.
“Registered nurses are the biggest health-care profession, with 2.5 million workers nationwide. The field is expected to add 587,000 jobs from 2006 to 2016, the biggest job growth of any profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.New Jersey isn’t much different. The number of registered nurses is expected to grow 16.4 percent from 2006 to 2016, outpacing the overall demand for highly skilled workers, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported. With people living longer and baby boomers aging, employers earlier this decade went great lengths to hire nurses. They offered exciting specialties and flexible hours. When they still fell short of their hiring goals, they went overseas.That no longer is the case.
Dozens of job hopefuls attended a nursing fair sponsored by Guide Publications one day last week in West Long Branch and talked about their struggles to find work.Some said they have applied to dozens of employers, only to be told they didn’t have enough experience, leading to the traditional lament of newcomers in any field — how do you gain experience if no one will hire you?”I’m surprised,” said Christina Koval, 22, of Metuchen, who graduated last spring from Ramapo College in Mahawah.
“You go to nursing school and you think there is a big nursing shortage and we’d have jobs.”Hospitals have tried to avoid laying off nurses. But nursing school graduates still have felt the recession’s impact.Some nurses, ready to retire, have continued working after their retirement savings dwindled. Other nurses, who worked part-time, returned to take full-time jobs after their spouses took pay cuts or were laid off, observers said.
“We also believe that hospitals have removed vacant positions from their rolls and are hiring fewer nurses than they might have during better economic times,” said Stacy Prince, a spokeswoman for the American Nurses Association, a trade group based in Silver Spring, Md.St. Barnabas Health Care System, which owns Community Medical Center in Toms River, Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood and Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, offers one example.
Five years ago, the nursing shortage forced the hospital to recruit overseas. Today, the recruiting trips are on hold; less than 2 percent of its nursing positions are open, said Teresa DiElmo, an assistant vice president.”I feel bad for the new graduates, but I don’t want them to get discouraged,” DiElmo said.
Health care is one of the industries that is still forecast to keep growing.”Indeed, DiElmo expects demand eventually to pick up. For now, new nurses may have to give up their first choice of working at a hospital, where the pay is relatively high and the benefits are plush, and turn to physicians’ offices and assisted-living centers.Of course, the graduates have no guarantees there, either. Megan Bornemann, 26, of Brick, has applied for jobs both at hospitals and nursing homes without success.She wasn’t prepared for the struggle, particularly since health care was supposed to be in demand. But now, she is starting to feel the pressure.”I need a job,” she said. “I have bills to pay.
“Michael L. Diamond
732-643-4038 or email@example.com
October 2, 2009
Nursing positions not as plentiful
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