Celebrating National Nurses Week

  • Article by: NANCY GIGUERE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: May 12, 2010 - 2:35 PM

Nurses take on new roles in today's healthcare environment. National Nurses Week begins on May 6 with RN Recognition Day and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday.

When Florence Nightingale went to Turkey in 1854 to oversee the introduction of female nurses into military hospitals during the Crimean War, she revolutionized an "unladylike" field and established nursing as a modern profession.

Her achievements are celebrated every year during National Nurses Week, which begins on May 6 with RN Recognition Day and ends on May 12, Nightingale's birthday. The week focuses on the contributions of the nation's 2.6 million registered nurses, whose work saves lives and maintains the health of millions of individuals.

Nursing Employment Trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. But opportunities will vary both by job setting and geographical region.

Employment growth will be slow in hospitals. More rapid growth is expected in outpatient facilities, including doctors' offices providing same-day surgery, chemotherapy and other sophisticated procedures.

As the number of older people increases, nurses will also be needed in nursing and residential care facilities. Job growth is expected in units that care for patients with dementia or provide long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head-trauma patients. Employment in home healthcare is also projected to increase as technological advances make it possible to bring complex treatments into the home.

Nurses Needed In Primary Care

According to the American Medical Association, AMA (www.ama-assn.org), only about 2 percent of medical students plan to work in primary care. This means that by 2020, the nation will experience a severe shortage of primary care doctors.

Studies show that nurse practitioners (NPs) can care for the majority of patients in primary care. NPs currently play an essential role in meeting the demand for low-cost care. This role will become even more important as 30 million newly insured patients seek primary care as a result of healthcare reform.

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