I started my nursing career as a staff nurse on the telemetry unit of a major medical center. In this role, I felt privileged and gratified to be able to make a difference every day in the lives of patients and their families. After all, that’s why I became a nurse in the first place.
As time went on, however, I began to realize that the difference I was making was only happening to a select group of assigned patients. I did some research and determined that nursing recruitment was the most effective way to make changes in many patients’ lives, not just the few I was assigned to. After all, I would be hiring the best qualified nurses and steering them into different areas in hospitals and health care facilities. So, in 1988, I decided to expand my reach by becoming a nurse recruiter.
What a wonderful thing it is to fit the right nurse into the right position. At the UMDNJ-School of Nursing, I’m working with potential nurses as well as nurses who want to advance their education. I’m fighting the nursing shortage in my own way.
When I meet with people who are considering a nursing career, I talk with them and help them determine their “fit” into the profession. Potential students aren’t always aware of all the different practice areas in nursing. For example, a former school teacher assumed that upon becoming a nurse he would practice in medial surgical nursing. After talking with me, he realized that he would be a perfect fit for a pediatric specialty clinic dealing with abused children. His teaching experience helped him relate to young children, and he had come from a troubled neighborhood himself. As a nurse, this gentleman will draw on his personal experience, education and skills to be a great asset to that clinic.
So, whether I’m recruiting a potential employee or potential student into our school of nursing, my actions will ultimately touch the lives of many patients. I love nursing and all it has to offer because we can make a difference each and every day. Not every profession can say that!
What can you do about the nursing shortage?
As a nursing student recruiter, I have the privilege of “replacing myself” on a daily basis. It’s my job. However, as a nurse on the frontlines of health care, you can also take an active role in building our profession.
- If you love what you do, tell others. Become a nursing ambassador. Tell your friends and relatives about the many career choices available in nursing. Remind them that nurses will always be in demand—a great incentive in today’s economic climate.
- Become active in a nursing association. State and local organizations can use your help to advocate for our discipline.
- Join a nursing faculty. With a master’s degree in nursing and clinical experience, you can share your expertise as an instructor. A doctoral degree gets you on track to a tenured position. Nursing schools across the country are adding offerings like UMDNJ’s master’s degree in nursing education, which prepares nurses to teach at colleges and universities.
Now, it’s your turn. Let’s see how many times you can replace yourself. And tell us about your successes…you may be a future Scrubs magazine star in our series about nurses who inspire others to enter the field.