Career Opportunities Term Paper

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Career Opportunities

In the early 1900s there were very few options open to a newly graduated nurse for practicing her profession. Nursing as described by Florence Nightingale in her "Notes on Nursing: what it is and what it is not" has come a long way since then. However, for nurse graduates the employment opportunities in the early 1900s were quite limited and ranged from teaching to supervision in hospital to staff nursing to private duty -- sometimes in the hospitals but generally at home where the nurse was working for 24 hours a day. Today the nursing profession offers a myriad of opportunities- a range of nurse specialists are engaged in practicing within the setting of the hospital; additionally they are also being hired by the hospitals to present a liaison between community health services and the hospital so that the continuity in the care of the patient can be ensured. (Burton, 1979)

Formerly LPNs -- Licensed Practical Nurses used to work only in nursing homes and hospitals. Today LPNs work with people from different walks of life and are employed in facilities of all kinds. Hospitals still are the most popular place for employment for the LPNs. Within the hospital there are diverse areas where the LPNs may work for experience- the intensive care unit, the coronary care unit, the pediatric unit, the maternity ward, etc. Supervising nursing assistants can be done by LPNs who are employed in hospitals. Nursing homes, which fall under the range of long-term care facilities, also offer various opportunities to the LPNs. There are also many options available for home-care facilities whose demand is increasing due to the mandate of insurance companies to make hospital stays shorter. Another advantage in home care facility is that the LPN may either be self-employed or may seek employment with a home healthcare agency. Self-employed LPNs can serve as private duty nurses in a healthcare facility or at the patient's resident. Besides this there are various other employment opportunities available for nurses- substance abuse clinics, schools, psychiatric hospitals, fitness centers, welfare and religious organizations, specialized mobile units, etc. There is a demand for them in each and every part of the country, however, places where there is a shortage of nurses and other urban areas provide greater job opportunities. (Institute for Research, Prescott, 2005)

Apart from the urban areas, there is also a requirement for a larger number of health professionals in remote and rural health car settings as identified by the government and rural health bodies. It has been suggested that providing undergraduates with the chance for experiencing a rural clinical placement could be a good strategy for prospective health professionals to gain knowledge and understanding of the employment opportunities in the rural workplace. A study was conducted at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. This study tried to find out the factors which influence the undergraduate nurse students in choosing either rural or metropolitan clinic for their placement. It was found that prior work experience in a rural community, belonging to a rural background, financial commitments and employment assurance were factors which influenced the students' choice in opting for a rural clinical placement. (Smith; Edwards; Courtney; Finlayson, 2001)

Nursing economists have forecasted a national nursing scarcity that will become prolonged and severe due to health care careers being chosen by fewer young people and due to the aging of the workforce. Problematic areas can be solved if the human elements responsible for the turnover can be understood by the leaders who can invest resources and design interventions accordingly. Incapability to handle the intense environment of work, high patient perspicacity and advanced medical technology are factors due to which turnover rates in graduate nurses within the first year of employment is almost 35-60%. Extensive emotional and financial costs are associated with this high rate of turnover. A loss of around $40,000 is incurred in orientation expenses and employer hiring for a nurse with tenure of less than a year. New graduates are affected professionally and personally by turnover and the healing relationship with families is also disrupted. Satisfaction relating to and intention to resign from the job or turnover is considered to have an inverse relation; higher job satisfaction leads to lower turnover. (Halfer; Graf, 2006)

Both nursing service and nursing education are concerned about the frustration and disillusionment of the new nurse graduate students when they enter into the real world; they experience a "reality shock." One of the methods to ease and tone down the impact of the reality shock is by exposing the nursing students to the actualities of nursing during their course. One way for attaining this goal is preceptorship. Preceptorship is not a new idea; it has been used frequently with students in the practitioner role or in community health nursing. Facilitating the students' learning is the primary responsibility of the preceptors who are "nurse facilitators" and function as observers, teachers and evaluators. The Capital University School of Nursing has developed a preceptor program which is a part of the curriculums' final course. The course is entitled Professional Entitlement and its intent is to help students increase their sense of accountability and level of independent functioning, build confidence and be able to deal with professional-bureaucratic conflicts effectively. (Chickerella; Lutz, 1981) study in a 3-year BN -- Bachelor of Nursing course was undertaken in Australia, at a large Metropolitan University, for identifying the expectations of the role of graduate nurse which third-year nurses have, and for determining how capable they feel in being able to accomplish this role. It was found that there was a marked difference between the expectations of students in the graduate year and the veracity of practice which they encountered in the workforce setting. It was also found that the student nurses were inclined towards large public hospitals and wanted a good graduate program which had the prospect of support and guidance associated with it. Apprehension was also expressed by final year students with regards to meeting the workplace's performance expectations because of their self-perceived deficiency of clinical experience. (McIntyre; Ives, 2001)

In the United Kingdom and in other countries, shortage of nurses is a common phenomenon due to a growing demand for nurses which is greater than the growing supply. Developed and developing countries are facing an acute shortage whilst a demographic double whammy is being confronted by developed countries. Australia, U.K. Canada, U.S. And other countries have a nursing workforce which is aging and who is taking care of a large number of elderly people. The main challenge which these countries face is the replacement of the nurses who will be retiring over the decade. Some countries also have to confront this problem along with the reducing number of people who are entering into the nursing profession. However, these countries must also look into the matter that in actuality nursing shortage may be an indication of societal ailments or symptoms of a larger health system. In many countries nursing is undervalued and considered to be as a woman's work; also the nurses have access to limited resources which hampers their career and job efficiency. (Buchan, 2002)

During the 1980s and the early part of 1990s, the labor market for nurses was quite lucrative on the wages and employment front. For instance, RNs -- Registered Nurses had earnings of around 42% higher levels of wages in 1993 as compared to college-educated women. Even LPNs had wages which were higher in comparison to women with 13-15 years of schooling. Further the absolute and relative wage gain in nursing is believed to have been brought about as a result of the increase in demand brought about by variations in hospital staffing patterns, technology relating to health care and reimbursement policy of private and public third party. From the early part of the1990s onwards the escalation in nursing salaries started declining. The relative difference between wages of RNs and women having a college degree fell down to 27% in the year 1994. Further this decrease corresponded with a slowing down in health care expenditure's growth and massive changes brought about in the insurance industry's structural patterns. (Schumacher, 2001)

In nursing the job prospects are good. In the past, employers reported a shortage of RNs in certain parts of the country. However, huge increase in wages have attracted many more people towards nursing and helped to control the increasing demand. It is expected that the employment of RNs will grow at a faster rate than the average when compares to all the occupations in the year 2005. By the year 2005, it is estimated that there would be approximately 2,601,000 RNs. With a rapid expansion of health care in general, employment of nurses in offices and clinics of physicians including HMOs, emergency medical centers and ambulatory surgicenters is expected to grow. Full-time salaried RNs have median earnings of $34,424 per annum. The American Health Care Association conducted a Buck Survey which revealed that in chain nursing homes the staff RNs had… [END OF PREVIEW]

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