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Where the jobs are: The fast track to a nursing career

September 29, 2015: A new program is helping students get one step closer to filling the void.

CLEVELAND—There is a very dramatic shortage of nurses nationwide and right here in Northeast Ohio. But the lack of registered nurses (RN’s) also means there is great opportunity for people looking for a career change. A new program is putting students on the fast-track to help fill the void.

A Baldwin Wallace program is the only one of its kind in Ohio. Many people, with at least a college degree, can become a nurse in just one year. The pay is good starting at about $50,000 says the program’s director.

“It’s very intense. But the intensity is so good because it keeps us on our toes,” said Baldwin Wallace University nursing student Krista Zaharewicz. She is one of 32 students in her class with at least a bachelor’s degree, being fast-tracked to a nursing degree.  And with success.

In the last two years, over 90% of B-W’s accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program grads passed the boards, surpassing state and national averages.
Getting more nursing grads into the pipeline is a big deal right now says program director James Fell. “The nursing shortage is regional. It’s more severe in some parts of the country than others.”

The head of B-W’s program isn’t kidding. The prediction is the 17-county region around Cleveland faces a shortfall of nearly 6,000 registered nurses by 2020.  “It’s a transformation and it’s really an opportunity for registered nurses to lead that transformation,” according to Kelly Hancock, who is the Executive Chief Nursing Director at the Cleveland Clinic.

Look no further than the Clinic’s #nursesrightnow campaign, which has offered more than 550 nursing jobs to candidates at the end of three events held here in northeast Ohio.

MetroHealth is feeling the nursing squeeze too, offering opportunities for retired nurses to come back to work - and an intern program, in which they hire about 90 percent of the nurses they train.

The national landscape for nursing is just as promising. If you are educated here in the state, but for whatever reason have to leave it’s not a problem. Nursing is very much in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nursing is in the top professions when it comes to job growth. And by the year 2022, RN’s are expected to grow by 19%.

If the numbers hold up, a future in nursing is certainly a bright one.

In January, even more nursing students will have a chance to participate in BW’s fast-tracked program. A second group of nursing students will form a hybrid “Designated Education Unit” at University Hospitals.The students will perform all clinical work exclusively at University Hospitals.

They’ll get one-on one training from nurse supervisors during the last semester --- and then have a chance at working for UH right after training.

posted in: National
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