Boston Globe Examines Increase in Nursing School Applicants
The Boston Globe on Wednesday examined the "flood" of nursing school applicants as "nursing has come to be seen as a stable, reasonable well-paying profession with a bright future" in the current "weak" job market. In the late 1990s, when nursing vacancies reached 10%, hospitals began to increase wages for nurses to help with recruitment. Nurses also receive "good benefits and an opportunity to work different schedules," as well as more security than most jobs, the Globe reports. Nursing schools report that many applicants are older individuals with degrees and job experience in other areas, such as retail, education and high technology.
According to the Globe, the nursing profession has "long been sensitive to shifts in the economy," and many individuals with nursing degrees "find better opportunities in other fields" in "good times" and return to nursing as a "reliable standby" in "tough times." The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that nursing will represent the "fastest-growing occupation" between 2004 and 2012, and the "need for new nurses" likely will "remain strong for the foreseeable future," with thousands of nurses expected to retire, according to the Globe (Stein, Boston Globe, 8/11).