GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A growing nursing shortage is putting a strain on hospitals in cities across the country. The health care community is working to find innovative strategies and ways to mitigate shortages.
Meanwhile, Grand Rapids Community College hopes a new program will lure more young people into the field.
Faculty with GRCC's nursing program is teaming up with The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Grand Rapids and Career Pathways for a summer workshop program. High school students will get the opportunity to get a up-close look at the healthcare profession and, in particular, what it is like to be a nurse.
The American Nursing Association predicts the United States will need roughly 1.1 million new nurses by 2022 -- just four years away.
Experts say the current shortage differs from those in the past. For starters, the amount of the projected shortage is twice the rate as experienced before. Also, as members of the baby boomer generation continue to age, the demand for health care professionals will remain steady or increase.
The good news is the shortage presents an abundance of career opportunities. Nurse employment is expected to increase from 2.86 million to 3.44 million jobs (20.2%), according to the American Nurses Association. The median annual wage for a registered nurse is approximately $70,000.
Students participating in GRCC's three-session workshop will learn to listen to heart and lung sounds, take blood pressures and pulses and work in the college's simulation lab. Instructors will also encourage them to consider a career in nursing.
Grand Rapids Community College has two nursing programs. Prospective students can begin the application process while they are still in high school.
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