Nursing jobs grow locally, nationwide

(AP)
February 21, 2012 2:22:54 PM PST
The field of nursing is emerging as a bright spot when it comes to jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the nursing field will see the biggest employment growth by 2020.

Seasoned nurses said many nursing students are getting into the field because they know they'll always be a need.

"This is one of the reasons why they chose nursing because there is a need and a demand and they know they'll get a job and people are staying around," said Rex Hospital nurse Vanessa Snellings. "They're sicker now, and we know someone has to be there to take care of those people."

Nationwide, 31,000 new jobs were added in the healthcare field last month and 13,000 of those were at hospitals. Rex is seeing an increase in new hires, too. In 2010, 152 nurses were hired. In 2011, that number skyrocketed to 245 new hires.

But first, many of these new hires went through internships and training programs to learn from the seasoned staff members.

"I got to work with older nurses who have been here for awhile," said nurse Laura Urko. "I shadowed them and they walked me through the whole nursing, what it's like to be a nurse, and I was able to get a lot of hands on experience."

At Rex, the more experienced nurses get to watch the new nurses in action. That means they can use these internships as recruitment tools.

That's exactly what Rex has been doing. In fact many of the new hires are from universities in the Triangle. So, not only are they hiring, but they're hiring locally.

Recent studies show of the nation's roughly 3 million nurses, 900,000 of them are 50 or older, which means many will soon be retiring.

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