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Solution for Nursing Shortage? Two Nurses Think They Can Help

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 2nd, 2008

National Nurse’s Week (May 6-12) is nearing and headlines warn of the current nursing shortage — more than 125,000 nurses are needed now. By 2015, it is estimated the U.S.A. will be short 500,000 nurses. By 2020, 65% of the population will be 65 or older and it is predicted we will lack 700,000 nurses to care for them. The average age of a nurse today is 47 years and as they retire, the shortage is expected to grow, raising concerns for the future of health care for all Americans.

But, two nurses LeAnn Thieman, LPN and her comrade Nancy Autio, RN, believe they can help ease the shrinking number of nurses. How? By tapping into something that’s found inside every nurse — his or her story. A story that can rekindle the spirit of a tired nurse or recruit new students.

“Nurse’s give a lot. They’re over-worked and overwhelmed. They need inspiration more than ever and stories written by fellow nurses inspire them to remain committed to the profession and encourage others to join the ranks,” claims Thieman, a nurse for over 30 years and co-author of the New York Times best-selling Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul. “We need more caring people to enter the field and if an individual wants to make a difference in the world, then nursing is how they truly can.

“Most nurses didn’t choose this career for the hours or pay and these stories remind them why they did,” says Thieman. “It isn’t just about the skill or technology, it’s about the heart, the compassion, the call to serving that sets a nurse apart.”

Thieman, a nationally recognized speaker on life balance and nursing issues, noted that nursing school graduates are down sharply and part of that reason can be attributed to the many career opportunities that young men and women have to choose from today. She said, “Today nursing is very much a high-tech, yet high-touch profession and we must mentor and encourage others to consider the benefits and satisfaction that come from choosing a career dedicated to helping others.” When asked, what the public can do to help ease the shortage situation? Thieman responded, “Encourage men and women, young and old to enter the healthcare profession. And thank a nurse today… you just might keep a tired soul from quitting and ensure there will be enough nurses there for you and your family when you need one!”

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