Challenges await potential nurses

Meghan Williams

Despite the high demand across the country for registered nurses, students looking for a nursing career are still facing challenges in the field.

Registered nurses are the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 1 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by then.

After 2011, the number of nurses leaving the profession is expected to exceed the number of nurses entering it.

Akron General Medical Center will only hire nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nursing recruiters from Akron General travel to Kent State, University of Akron, Malone College, Walsh University, Youngstown State, Ohio State and Toledo to look for students close to graduating.

Debbie Kosec, nursing recruiter at Akron General, said she recruits students from job fairs, open houses, advertising and word of mouth generated from the hospital’s reputation as a level one trauma center.

“Many students have a high GPA, but this doesn’t always mean the student will make it into the program. Many more factors go into a prospective good nurse,” Kosec said.

In April 2005, the starting salary for registered nurses was nearly $39,000, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Beginning nurses can make as much as $20 to $30 an hour with no experience.

Critical care nurses are the hardest to attract. These nurses tend to stay at the hospital and rarely move, Kosec said.

“Retention is one of the most important parts of keeping the staff at the hospital,” Kosec said. “From day one, you want the nurses to come and stay at the hospital. They must do what is best for them. Nurses that call off or having a high turnover rate makes the staff unhappy.”

Contact student health reporter Meghan Williams at [email protected].