Sunday Herald Tribune Featured Article: Urgently seeking nurses, Sarasota, Manatee schools expand options


Originally Featured in Herald Tribune June 3, 2018:

“Economists predict a daunting demand for 1 million new nurses over the next 10 years

Whatever tugs a person’s heart and soul into the nursing profession, it’s clearly a highly individualized call.

Lisa Cherry was working in a factory when her mother died of cancer. She was not impressed by the care her mother received. “So I got into nursing to care for others,” she says.

Kim Hagan ran a housecleaning business, and some of her elderly clients had home health nurses who “treated them very poorly,” she remembers. “So I literally went to school to learn how to take care of them.” Now, among her fondest memories is the oncology patient who would bring her a bedpan full of roses every year, long after she nursed him through his recovery.

From the age of 7, Martina Giquinto absolutely knew what she wanted to be when she grew up — despite her mother’s urging that she become a teacher. In her native Ireland, nursing schools were hard to get into, so she applied to a U.S. recruitment program in New Jersey. There were 1,500 applicants, and she was one of the 15 accepted.

When she joined the profession 27 years ago, Giquinto says, it was a different world: “The older nurses wanted you to work to be there; you had to prove yourself. And when I started, when the doctor walked in, you got up and gave him your chair.”

Now, registered nurses not only earn respect as knowledgeable members of the health care team, they are so highly valued that they can pretty much work when and where they choose. And with baby boomer nurses retiring in waves — to become part of the largest patient population of older Americans ever — economists predict a daunting demand for 1 million new nurses over the next 10 years.

“Some forecast that this could be the worst nursing shortage that we’ve ever had,” says Jan Mauck, former chief nursing officer for Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and co-founder of the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition. The nonprofit partnership of regional educators and employers has been working for five years to boost the supply of registered nurses in this part of Florida.” … Continue Reading: