DiversityNursing Blog

Survey: Almost 1 in 5 nurses leave first job within a year

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 12:15 PM

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A study in the current issue of Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice estimates 17.5% of newly licensed RNs leave their first nursing job within the first year and 33.5% leave within two years, according to a news release. The researchers found that turnover for this group is lower at hospitals than at other healthcare settings.

The study, which synthesized existing turnover data and reported turnover data from a nationally representative sample of RNs, was conducted by the RN Work Project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The RN Work Project is a 10-year study of newly-licensed RNs that began in 2006. The study draws on data from nurses in 34 states, covering 51 metropolitan areas and nine rural areas. The RN Work Project is directed by Christine T. Kovner, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at the College of Nursing, New York University, and Carol Brewer, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at the School of Nursing, University at Buffalo. 

“One of the biggest problems we face in trying to assess the impact of nurse turnover on our healthcare system as a whole is that there’s not a single, agreed-upon definition of turnover,” Kovner said. “In order to make comparisons across organizations and geographical areas, researchers, policy makers and others need valid and reliable data based on consistent definitions of turnover. It makes sense to look at RNs across multiple organizations, as we did, rather than in a single organization or type of organization to get an accurate picture of RN turnover.”

According to the release, the research team noted that, in some cases, RN turnover can be helpful — as in the case of functional turnover, when a poorly functioning employee leaves, as opposed to dysfunctional turnover, when well-performing employees leave. The team recommends organizations pay attention to the kind of turnover occurring and point out their data indicate that when most RNs leave their jobs, they go to another healthcare job.

“Developing a standard definition of turnover would go a long way in helping identify the reasons for RN turnover and whether managers should be concerned about their institutions’ turnover rates,” Brewer said in the release. “A high rate of turnover at a hospital, if it’s voluntary, could be problematic, but if it’s involuntary or if nurses are moving within the hospital to another unit or position, that tells a very different story.” 

The RN Work Project’s data include all organizational turnover (voluntary and involuntary), but do not include position turnover if the RN stayed at the same healthcare organization, according to the release.

Source: http://news.nurse.com

Topics: jobs, studies, survey, turnover, nursing, nurses, medical, career

American Nurses Association Celebrates National Nurses Week; 1.1 Million More RNs Needed

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 11:19 AM

Source: Digital Journal

National Nurses Week traditionally is a time to recognize the crucial contributions registered nurses (RN) make to individuals' health and the U.S. health care system; this year, it's also a time to sound a note of urgency about the future, as projections signal the need to fill about 1.1 million RN jobs by 2022.

The 2014 National Nurses Week theme is "Nurses: Leading the Way," emphasizing nurses' roles in improving the quality of health care; participating as key members of collaborative, performance-based health care teams; and continually advocating to ensure patients remain the focal point of health care. National Nurses Week takes place May 6-12, ending on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

"All nurses are leaders, whether they are in direct patient care, administrative roles, or meeting consumers' needs in new roles such as care coordinators or wellness coaches," said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. "This week, we acknowledge nurses' vast contributions, as well as the need to develop the nursing workforce to meet our growing needs and improve the health of the nation."

As nurses assume more leadership roles in a system that is transforming its focus to emphasize primary care, prevention, wellness, chronic disease management, and coordination of care, a confluence of factors is driving the need for a huge increase in the number of RNs. About 11 million individuals have gained better access to health care through private health insurance marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act; Baby Boomers are projected to swell Medicare rolls by 50 percent by 2025; and 53 percent of nurses are over age 50 and nearing retirement, according to a National Council of State Boards of Nursing survey.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 1.1 million jobs for nurses between 2012 and 2022 – more than 500,000 each for newly created jobs and replacements for retiring nurses. Registered nurse is ranked second in projected new job growth among all occupations from 2012 to 2022, with 527,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To achieve that level of growth, ANA recommends four actions: 

  • Increase funding for federal Nursing Workforce Development Programs (known as Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, which marks its 50th anniversary this year). Funding generally has stayed level in recent years for these programs that assist in educating, training, and placing new nurses in areas of need.
  • Recruit more nursing professors and increase incentives. Nursing faculty salaries generally are lower than what many faculty members could earn in clinical practice (an average of $68,640 compared to more than $91,000 for nurse practitioners). Many nursing professors also are nearing retirement age – nearly 3 of 4 are over age 50 – and will need to be replaced.
  • Ensure an adequate number of clinical training sites so nursing students can fulfill educational requirements.
  • Encourage hospitals and other employers to hire new nursing graduates now to benefit from mentoring from experienced RNs, and to mitigate the impact of the projected exodus of seasoned RNs in the coming years.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/05/prweb11820230.htm

Topics: jobs, National Nurses Week, growth, leadership

The Role of a Certified Nurse-Midwife

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Apr 02, 2014 @ 01:30 PM

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Topics: jobs, midwife, CNM, nurse, infographic, salary

Nursing: A Healthy Career Choice

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Dec 04, 2013 @ 05:39 PM

hiring opportunities for nurses 441x2854 resized 600

Topics: jobs, retiring, nurses, infographic

Health care job growth doubled in February

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 05:51 PM

By: The Advisory Board Company

The health care industry added 32,000 jobs in February, accounting for 13.6% of the 236,000 nonfarm jobs created last month, according to preliminary data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In comparison, revised BLS data show that the health industry added just 13,000 jobs in January, partly because the agency now estimates that hospitals lost about 3,100 jobs in January.

Latest report shows hiring across industry

Within the health sector, physician offices and outpatient health centers experienced the biggest gains in February, adding about 14,000 jobs for the month, according to BLS. Meanwhile, ambulatory health care services added 13,700 jobs in February, down from 26,700 in January. 

The agency also found:

  • Hospitals created 8,900 jobs in February;
  • Home health care added 6,100 jobs, up from 5,700 new jobs in January; and
  • Nursing homes added 9,000 new workers.

Overall, the national unemployment rate last month dropped to a four-year low of 7.7% (Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 3/8 [subscription required]; Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/8).

Topics: jobs, growth, hiring, nurses, health care

Healthcare adds 23,000 workers as demand shifts

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 @ 02:53 PM

Hospitals employed a seasonally adjusted 4.8 million individuals last month, 3,600 more workers than in December, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While national unemployment rose one percentage point in January to 7.9 percent, the healthcare sector saw employment grow by roughly 23,000 jobs. Much of the gains in healthcare jobs came from ambulatory healthcare services, which employed a seasonally adjusted 6.4 million in January, up 27,600 from the month before.

But not seasonally adjusted, hospitals employed 8,600 fewer people than in December, noted AHA News Now.

Meanwhile, online labor demand for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations fell by 25,900 to 616,300 postings in January, according to research association Conference Board.

But healthcare employment will likely continue, even with efforts to cut costs, according to a New York Times opinion piece. With a drop in hospital jobs comes an uptick in other healthcare-related jobs, such as home health aides, the commentary noted.

Home healthcare services employed 1,300 more workers last month.

The NYT opinion piece echoes an editorial published in June in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two Harvard economists said the focus on healthcare jobs is "misguided" and should be left out of cost-control debateFierceHealthcare previously reported.

Topics: jobs, shifts, employment, nursing, healthcare, nurses, hospitals

One Hundred and One Interesting Facts, Quotes (and Even a Couple of Jokes) About Nursing:

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 07:39 PM

1. January 27th is School Nurse Day. Planning on flowers? Chocolates? Didn’t think so.

2. The most visits to emergency rooms occur during the warmer months of the year.

3. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, Finland, Norway, Monaco, Ireland and Belarus have, in that order, the highest ratios of nurses per capita of all nations, ranging from 2162 to 1182 nurses per 100,000 people.
nurse laughing
4. The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses was formed in 1908.

5. According to a 2001 World Health Organization report, the number of psychiatric nurses in poor countries is about 0.1 per 100,000 persons.

6. In 1783 a black slave named James Derham worked as a nurse in New Orleans, eventually earning enough money to buy his freedom and move to Philadelphia, where he studied medicine and became a doctor.

7. Men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 account for 33 percent of all people in the U. S. who come to emergency rooms with injury-related wounds.

8. Linda Richards became the first nurse to earn a nursing diploma in the United States in 1873.

9. In 1846 the first hospital training school for nurses, the Institute for Protestant Deaconesses, was established in the town of Kaiserwerth, Germany.

10. The National Association of School Nurses recommends nurse-to-student ratios should be one to 750 for general populations, one to 250 in mainstreamed populations and 1 to 125 in severely handicapped populations.

11. According to a recent World Health Organization report, the United States spends more money, as a ratio of GNP, on health care than any country, followed closely by Lebanon and Zimbabwe.

12. “When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.” Terence, from The Woman of Andros (166 B.C.)

13. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/NursingWorld.com, 45% of nurses expressed fear of getting a potentially deadly disease as one of their top three occupational health concerns.

14. Nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S.

15. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, Nepal, Liberia, Central African Republic, Haiti and Bangladesh have, in that order, the lowest ratios of nurses per capita of all nations, ranging from 5 to 11 nurses per 100,000 people.

16. One out of every four registered nurses works part time.

17. The American Nurses Association, first known as the Nurses Associated Alumnae, was started in 1898.

18. The New England Hospital for Women and Children, established in 1862, was the first school for nursing in the U.S.

19. The order of the Brothers of Mercy was founded in 1538 by Juan Ciudad. (b. 1495. d. 1550.)

20. One out of every five licensed practical nurses works part time.

21. During the months that school is out, emergency room visits from children under 14 years old rise by 18 percent.

22. The demand for registered nurses is expected to rise 21 to 35 percent through the first decade of the 21st century.

23. “The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others.” Homer, from The Odyssey (9th Century, B.C.).

24. There were 358 existing master’s of nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 9% of all registered nurses.

25. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/NursingWorld.com, 59% of nurses expressed fear of getting a severe back injury as one of their top three occupational health concerns.

26. Around 500 A. D. the Benedictine nursing order was founded by Saint Benedict.

27. There were 75 existing doctorate of nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 0.6% of all registered nurses.

28. There were 1,100 existing practical nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002.

29. The average annual earnings for registered nurses was $44,840 in 2000.

30. In 1996, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that one million workers are assaulted every year in the workplace and that “Most of these assaults occur in service settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and social service agencies.”

31. In 1898 the British Army formed the Royal Army Medical Corp.

32. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, Ireland, Seychelles, Maldives, Philippines and Azerbaijan have, in that order, the highest ratios of midwives per capita of all nations, ranging from 411.0 to 137.0 midwives per 100,000 people.

33. In 1947, Florence Blanchfield, a nurse, became the first female regular commissioned officer in the United States Army, assigned as the superintendent of the Army Nurse Corp. (b. 1882. d. 1971).

34. There are approximately 567,000 bicycle-related injuries each year that require emergency room attention.

35. 29 Victoria Crosses have been awarded to British medical personnel.

36. The United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) has been the main regulatory institution of nursing training and standards in the British since 1983.

37. “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Charles Dudley Warner, from “Fifth Study,” Backlog Studies (1873).

38. You know you are a nurse when you baste your Thanksgiving turkey with a Toomey syringe.

39. According to a 2001 World Health Organization report, nurses and midwives can comprise between 50% to 90% of the number of health practitioners in many countries.

40. The American College of Nurse-Midwives was formed in 1955.

41. The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting body of nursing education programs of all types, oversees over 1,900 different programs.

42. “If you would live in health, be old early.” – a Spanish proverb.

43. Walt Whitman’s service as a nurse during the American Civil War inspired many of his poems, including Memoranda During the War (b. 1819 d. 1892).

44. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, the country of Nepal has the lowest ratio of nurses per capita in the world, with 5.0 per 100,000 people.

45. The first nursing school in history dates back to 250 B.C. and was located in India.

46. An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) takes about 2 to 3 years to earn.

47. Clara Louise Maass is famous for serving as a contract nurse during the Spanish American War. (b. 1876 d. 1901).

48. The largest demand for licensed practical nurses through 2110 will be in nursing homes.

49. 17th century shipwreck survivor Juan de Mena is considered the first nurse in the New World.

50. The average starting wage for a certified registered nurse anesthetist is over $50,000.

Would you believe how many babies this 18th century midwife delivered successfully?  –>

51. According to a recent World Health Organization report, 93 member countries of the United Nations annually spend less than $100 per capita on health care, 56 member countries spend less than $500 per capita and 26 member countries spend over $1000 per capita.

52. The Teutonic Knights, the Knights of Lazarus and the Knights Hospitalers were all orders that organized male nurses to tend to sick and wounded.

53. Second Lieutenant Edward Lynn, in 1955, was the first male to be commissioned in the United States Army Nurse Corp.

54. Around nine million children visit emergency rooms in the U.S. each year due to injuries.

55. “To preserve a man alive in the midst of so many chances and hostilities, is as great a miracle as to create him.” Jeremy Taylor, from The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying (1651).

56. In October of 1902, Lina Rogers Struthers became the first school nurse in the United States.

57. The second week of May is National Nursing Home Week.

58. A bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) takes about 4 to 5 years.

59. Lucretia Lester was a midwife for 34 years, between 1745 and 1779, and is reputed to have helped deliver 1,300 children, of which only two were lost.

60. The Knights Hospitalers was founded in 1119 to protect a hospital build in Jerusalem and also provided nursing care.

61. Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. (b. 1821 d. 1912).

62. A 1996 survey done by the Department of Health and Human Services found that 95% of all working nurses are female.

63. The U.S. Army Nurse Corp was started in 1901.

64. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, open wounds are the leading diagnosis for injury-related visits to emergency rooms.

65. Why did the nurse keep the bedpan in the refrigerator? Because when she kept it in the freezer it took too much skin off.

66. There were about 700,000 jobs for licensed practical nurses in the year 2000.

67. According to a recent World Health Organization report, the United States, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Germany, respectively, annually spend the most money per capita on health care.

68. About three out of every five registered nurses work in hospitals.

69. The fourth week of May is National Nurses Week.

70. There are more nurses than any other workers in the health profession.

71. “When a man is ill his very goodness is sickly.” Nietzsche, The Will to Power (1888).

72. A 1996 survey done by the Department of Health and Human Services found that only 10% of working nurses represent minorities.

73. There were 86 existing diploma for nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 27% of all registered nurses.

74. You know you are a nurse when you think giving your patients TLC means giving them Thorazine, Lorazepam and Compazine.

75. The training time it takes to become a licensed practical nurse is about one year.

76. Traumatic wounds account for around 11 million visits to the emergency room each year.

77. The Canadian Victorian Order of Nurses was founded in 1897 in honor of Queen Victoria of England’s Diamond Jubilee.

78. Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln, was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War (b. 1818 d. 1882).

79. There were about 2,200,000 jobs for registered nurses in the year 2000.

80. If you see a nurse smiling when things go wrong, she is probably going off duty.

81. May 8th is National Student Nurses’ Day.

82. According to a 2001 World Health Organization report, the number of psychiatric nurses in developed countries is about 33.5 per 100,000 persons.

83. The first week of May is National Hospital Week and Health Care Administrators’ Week.

84. In the various U.S. Military branches, approximately one-third of all nurses are male.

85. In 2000, there were 57,954 school nurses looking out for the health of 52 million students.

86. The Nurses Registration Act of 1919 established the first oversight of nursing training and standards in Great Britain.

87. There were 885 existing associate’s degrees for nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 32.0% of all registered nurses.

88. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, the United States has a ratio of 972 nurses per 100,000 people, or about the same as Germany and Uzbekistan.

89. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/NursingWorld.com, 51% of nurses said they worked an average of 41 to 60 hours per week.

90. Mary Seacole, a self-taught nurse, was famous for establishing a hotel for invalids close to the front during the Crimean War.

91. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/NursingWorld.com, nurses said they spent 62% of their time in direct patient care.

92. Anne L. Austin was a famous historian of nursing (b. 1891 d. 1986).

93. Florence Nightingale, the most famous nurse in modern history, was only a nurse for three years of her life (b. 1820 d. 1910).

94. Saint Camillus de Lellis established a Catholic order called the Fathers of a Good Death in 1584 to tend to the terminally ill, and is also reputed to have designed the red cross on a white background symbol and to have developed the first ambulance (b. 1550 d. 1614).

95. The average annual earnings for licensed practical nurses was $29,440 in 2000.

96. Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first African American nurse in 1879 (b. 1845 d. 1926).

97. There were 695 existing baccalaureate of nursing programs in the U.S. in 2002, comprising 31% of all registered nurses.

98. You know you are a nurse when you find yourself complimenting a complete stranger on his veins.

99. The demand for licensed practical nurses is expected to rise 10 to 20 percent through the first decade of the 21st century.

100. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/NursingWorld.com, 71% of nurses selected ‘acute/chronic effects of stress and overwork’ as one of their top three occupational health concerns.

101. You know you are in trouble when it’s your first night shift in three years and there’s a full moon.

Topics: jobs, scholarship, diversity, nursing, nurse, nurses, nurse assisant training

2013 jobs forecast for nurses

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 03:17 PM


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You’re the kind of person who’s in the right place at the right time.

No, I mean it.

Look at yourself. You’re a nurse when it’s a great time to be a nurse. Plus, you’re obviously thinking about your future (You’re reading this article, right?). You want to know where you need to be in 2013 in order to make the most money –– and be in the most demand.

I’ve pulled together the numbers to help you plan your next steps (and determine where your competition lies). These stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may surprise you with some interesting projections.

Where the Jobs Are

If you love med-surg, get ready for some good news. According to the BLS, nurses can expect to find a variety of employment opportunities in privately owned, general medical surgical hospitals. This includes physician’s offices, local medical surgical hospitals, home health care agencies and nursing care homes. Job seeking nurses may also want to consider government agencies, nursing education and administrative roles in hospitals and insurance companies.

Salary Forecast

Although it may not seem like it sometimes, nursing is among the higher paid professions. In May 2010, the average annual median salary for nurses was $64,690 per year (the top 10 percent earned more than $95,130). So how will your salary stack up in the near distant future?

Nurses in private medical surgical hospitals can expect to earn $66,650 per year. Those who work in doctor’s offices, local medical surgical hospitals and home health agencies can all expect a salary just above $60,000.

Where the Competion Will Be

Although anecdotal evidence in the nursing community doesn’t necessarily point to a nursing shortage, statistics show that growth for the nursing profession is expected to increase exponentially by the year 2020. In fact, growth is projected to increase by 26 percent, while all other professions are only expected to grow by 14 percent.

That isn’t to say that some venues aren’t more competitive than others. Hospital nursing is a good place to find a job due to the relatively high turnover of nurses and the progressive aging of retirement-eligible nurses. The competition is expected to be much higher for positions in doctor’s offices and outpatient care centers as well due to the family-friendly shifts and relatively lower patient care demands.

Should You Beef Up Your Credentials?

The demand for nurses with at least a BSN is expected to rise in the US. Additionally, all advanced practice registered nurses, such as certified registered nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists are expected to be in higher demand. If you’re looking for the hot jobs in this profession, you would do well to advance your education as far as possible.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Registered Nurses.

Topics: jobs, 2013, opportunities, RN, nurses

5 Nursing Jobs Poised for Big Growth

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 @ 02:53 PM

Article from CareerBuilder.com

The nursing shortage often lamented by policymakers and health care professionals appears to have eased during the recession, but experts warn that demand for nurses will rise sharply in the coming years. New data from the federal government appears to bear that out, showing that the nursing field is likely to add jobs rapidly over the coming decade.

That's according to employment projections released earlier this year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of the 30 occupations that will see the largest gain in new jobs between 2010 and 2020, six are in nursing. Registered nurses are at the very top of the list, with more new jobs projected than any other occupation. Home and personal care aides are poised for astronomical growth (around 70 percent), reflecting the large numbers of elderly people likely to need these services. 

These big gains follow the trend for the health care industry overall. The BLS projects that health care practitioners (a group that includes physicians, registered nurses, health technologists and others) will see the second-largest number of new jobs among all occupational groups: 2 million between 2010 and 2020, adding jobs at a rate of 25.9 percent. Health care support jobs (a category that includes personal care and home health aides, among others) will see the fastest growth of any occupational group: 1.4 million jobs between 2010 and 2020, at a rate of 34.5 percent.

The list below features six nursing jobs poised for major growth.

1. Registered nurses
Number of new jobs: 711,900
Growth rate: 26 percent
Overall rank (in number of new jobs created, among all occupations): 1
What they need: To complete a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing or a diploma, plus pass a licensure exam
What they do: Treat and educate patients under the supervision of physicians, in a wide variety of health care settings

2. Home health aides
Number of new jobs: 706,300
Growth rate: 69.4 percent
Overall rank: 3
What they need: To complete a minimum 75-hour training program and pass a test or state certification exam
What they do: Provide basic nursing care for elderly and other needy patients in their homes

3. Personal care aides
Number of new jobs: 607,000
Growth rate: 70.5 percent
Overall rank: 4
What they need: To complete a training program
What they do: Perform duties similar to home health aides, but with a focus on household help, bathing and dressing

4. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants
Number of new jobs: 302,000
Growth rate: 20.1 percent
Overall rank: 11
What they need: Vocational or on-the-job training, plus certification requirements that vary by state and type of health care facility
What they do: Provide routine, hands-on care in a range of health care settings such as hospitals and nursing care facilities

5. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Number of new jobs: 168,500
Growth rate: 22.4 percent
Overall rank: 28
What they need: To complete a one-year training program and pass a licensure exam
What they do: Care for patients under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians

6. Medical assistants
Number of new jobs: 162,900
Growth rate: 30.9 percent
Overall rank: 30
What they need: To complete a one- or two-year training program, either at a community college or vocational school, or on the job
What they do: Perform a range of clinical and administrative tasks in offices of physicians and other health care practitioners

Topics: jobs, growth, nursing

Rutgers: Helping Kids Find Their Callings

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 03:07 PM

John Chadwick is the Assistant Managing Editor for Rutgers Today.

rutgersThe Nontraditional Career Resource Center encourages students to look beyond gender when choosing a career.

At a middle school in Brick Township, N.J., two eighth-graders developed a presentation that expressed the joys and hardships of their lives in immigrant families. At a high school in Marlboro, N.J., a young woman started a project to help kids in India whose parents are incarcerated. And at a school in Bergen County, N.J., a student started an intramural club for classmates who weren’t on any sports teams.  

Three projects. Three distinct visions of compassion and social justice. One common source: the Nontraditional Career Resource Center at Rutgers University.

The center, a state-funded program and part of the School of Management and Labor Relations, worked directly with those students, and others, to help them develop social-action projects.

Located in the Center for Women and Work, the NCRC’s principal mission is to raise awareness about career paths that are considered nontraditional—those jobs in which one gender comprises 25 percent of the workforce or less. The center employs a range of outreach efforts—guest speakers, workshops, partnerships with employers and educators, and programs for students in grades 7 through 12—that allows it to reach many different audiences.

“What we want people to understand is that at the heart of it all, choosing a career should not be based on your gender,” said Glenda Gracia-Rivera, associate director. “Girls may not be encouraged to go into the sciences or building trades because those are defined as male jobs. Boys may not be encouraged to become nurses or teachers because they are not considered nurturing enough.”

One of the center’s hallmark programs, the Career Summer Institute, began July 11 and brings 90 high-school students to Cook Campus at Rutgers for an intensive, one-week residential program that will focus on how to go about choosing a career. Students will learn about various careers, participate in workshops, and receive leadership training, all geared to developing their decision-making abilities. And like their predecessors, they’ll be encouraged to develop social-action projects so they can take the values they learn during the week back to their communities. The projects, which are called Step Up!, aim at addressing inequities in the students’ schools or towns.

“The kids come out super energized,” Gracia-Rivera said. “So we help them come up with an issue. We tell them, ‘you don’t have to change the world, you just have to address something at the local level.”’

Indra Murti, who attended the institute two years ago and is now a Rutgers undergraduate student, came up with a project that went far beyond the local level. During a visit to India in the summer of 2008, she became aware of a residential school for children of parents in jail or deceased. After visiting and volunteering at the school, Murti said she was moved to do more for the kids, who are supported entirely by the nuns who run the school.

Returning to Marlboro High School, she formed a student club devoted to maintaining a relationship with the school in India. The American students and the Indian students became pen pals.

“When I saw the kids (in India), and I felt their enthusiasm, it made me really want to help them,” Murti said.

Two eighth-graders in Brick Township, meanwhile, who attended the center’s program for younger students, The Academy of Leadership and Equity, came up with an idea that inspired everyone in their school. The students, one of Indian descent and the other of Mexican origin, worked with their ESL teacher, Theresa Ryan-Botello, to develop an oral presentation that expressed their hopes and fears as immigrants in America.

“They felt they were misunderstood by teachers,” Ryan-Botello said. “So our approach was: ‘Instead of complaining, let’s do something positive.’”

The presentation, “Many Worlds into One World,” told of the students’ ethnic background, examined the demographic changes in the middle school, and offered gentle tips on how to foster respect and greater communication within the school.

“They spoke from their heart, and that was really touching,” Ryan-Botello said. “Many of the teachers were in tears.”
All told, 10 students attending programs at the NCRC completed social-action projects, prompting the center’s staff to hold an awards dinner for the kids and their families last spring at the Labor Education Center. The students received certificates and other prizes.  

“Here are young people doing amazing things,” Gracia-Rivera said. “I felt like they needed to be honored and recognized for their efforts.”

Reprinted from Rutgers Today – RutgersToday.rutgers.edu.

Topics: jobs, gender, diversity, children

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