Introduction by Pamela Peacock, Curator, Museum of Health Care.
Nursing has sometimes been called ‘the Caring Profession.’ Developed out of maternal care for sick family members, expectations of females’ natural tendency to nurture others, and the activities of female benevolent societies that sought to aid the less fortunate in their communities, throughout much of the 19th century nurses were women who provided comfort to the ill. They did so by feeding and bathing patients, giving medicine, and providing a smile, while also sweeping and dusting the sick-room, laundering sheets and bed clothes, and preparing food for the patient.
After the Crimean War, though, nursing underwent a shift. Along with many other medical fields, nursing became professionalized. Training became more standardized, and practitioners were held to standards overseen by professional boards and bodies. Nursing schools were created through hospitals, allowing nurses very hands-on practical training throughout their education. By the 1970s many hospitals transferred the training of nurses to universities and colleges.
Nurses are a critical component of patient care. They provide medical, physical, mental, and spiritual care through their day-to-day interactions with patients and their families.
Explore the Museum of Health Care’s Nursing Collection by accessing our online catalogue. And find out some of the concerns facing nursing graduates today by reading the following guest blog.
Outlook for Nursing Grads in 2012 by Carolyn
The healthcare industry is thought to be one of the most secure job industries in the U.S. Still, hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices haven’t been immune to the economic troubles that almost all sectors in the nation have faced. Those who are graduating from nursing programs this year should not expect jobs to be handed to them. However, nursing jobs are available, and the available slots for nurses are only expected to increase over the next several years.
According to findings from the Nevada Health Care Quality Report, the healthcare industry in Nevada lost around $65 million dollars in funding last year. And the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Dean of Nursing, Carolyn Yucha, asserts that financial losses in the healthcare industry result in nurses being laid off. And, according to Yucha, when nurses are laid off, it’s more difficult for nursing grads to find jobs, since they’re competing with nurses who have years of experience.
Reporter David Morgan at Reuters notes that the cuts to Medicare, although seemingly minimal, will have a detrimental effect on the financial situation of most areas of the healthcare industry, particularly hospitals. As long as the healthcare industry suffers due to financial limitations, graduating nurses can expect the competition for nursing slots to be fierce.
In 2012, we can expect that many recent nursing grads will have to work to find jobs and settle for positions that may not be their dream positions. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nurses won’t have too hard of a time securing employment over the next few years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 711,900 jobs for RNs will be added from 2010 to 2020, and 168,500 jobs for LPNs will be added from 2010 to 2020. Additionally, the Bureau predicts that the job pool for nurses will grow faster than average in comparison to the job pools for other vocations.
Securing employment as a nursing grad may not be as easy now as it was six years ago. However, the outlook for recent nursing grads isn’t terrible. Grads with previous hands-on experience in the medical field will likely have the easiest time. However, all nursing graduates who are willing to work to prove themselves in the healthcare arena shouldn’t struggle too much over the next ten years or so.
May 7-11 is Nursing Week, and let’s hope it will be a great week for all the new nurses who are just now entering the job market!
Author’s Bio: Carolyn is a guest blogger on the subjects of nursing education, healthcare, and LPN programs.