I was recently interviewed for a cable television program where I was supposed to be discussing my business and the nursing profession in general. Out of the blue the host asks me, “Why doesn’t anyone want to be a nurse?” The question threw me but as I composed myself, I realized that he must be assuming that because there is a well publicized nursing shortage, it must be for lack of people entering the profession. “On the contrary” I replied, “almost everyone wants to be a nurse today. Most schools of nursing have a 2-3 year waiting list to get in. Over 30, 000 qualified candidates were turned away last year.” The host was startled to hear this. I went on to tell him that more and more men are entering the profession and that many people are coming to nursing as 2nd and 3rd careers – many coming from the world of business, information technology (computers), and many other professions. Why then, he wanted to know, couldn’t the schools accommodate them. Because of a shortage of qualified instructors, classroom and clinical space, I advised him. Fortunately, all of these things are being addressed at the state and federal level but not fast enough.
Of course then we have to address the challenge of retention of new and experienced nurses – a subject for another post.