About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Nursing 'Crisis'

With an aging population and not enough nurses entering the ranks to take care of them all, private and public health-care providers in Canada alike are bracing for a health-care crisis.

Experts say the numbers of elderly people who need help with the daily acts of living most of us take for granted like getting groceries, making meals and keeping healthy are growing and too few nurses are being brought into the fold, especially among young people.

Kaaren Neufeld, president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), says the numbers tell a worrying story — while the CNA recently succeeded in graduating more than 9,300 new nurses in a single year for the first time in three decades, Neufeld says the country needs closer to 12,000 new nurses each year.

“There is a shortage of health-care practitioners in this country and working with the frail elderly in this country is something there will continue to be a strong need for,” Neufeld said.

As many aging boomers develop increasing nursing needs, Neufeld insists more emphasis on continuing care instead of cures will be needed.

“We have to change the way health care is delivered in this country in order to meet the need of the population we’re anticipating,” Neufeld said.

Lisa Wiseman, president of private firm Eldercare Home Health Inc., which sends experienced registered nurses directly to elderly clients’ own homes, says the lack of nurses is a problem not easily solved in the short term, since field experience is such a key part of successful nursing.

“Even if we graduated all the nurses we needed tomorrow, they still wouldn’t have the experience. We’re definitely heading into a crisis,” Wiseman said.

A big problem has been attracting young female nurses, since traditionally few men choose to enter the field.

Before the women’s liberation movement, most women chose to enter either nursing or teaching as professions.

Now that women are increasingly being accepted in the working world, Wiseman says it’s only natural that many are choosing a wide variety of professions. With the average age of a registered nurse hovering at around 47 years old, it’s also obvious that relatively few young women are choosing to become nurses.

Still, with demand high and supply low, enterprising students who feel a calling to care for others like Jenna Hoyt, 28, are putting two and two together pursuing their dream of nursing. Hoyt recently graduated from the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and says her and her friends were being wooed to nursing positions almost instantly.

“From the moment we started nursing school, hospitals were lined up to recruit new nurses,” Hoyt said.
Hoyt herself is heading to Ethiopia to provide nursing care and do humanitarian relief work and says of her friends who graduated, not one is still left looking for work.

“Anyone who wanted a job has a job. I actually feel a bit guilty leaving Canada because I know there’s a shortage,” she said.

[Article's picture comment:] Demand for nurses, who are already needed desperately in Canada, will increase dramatically in the coming years.

Now, what I'd like to know is why it's SO competitive to get into school? If there are a zillion people who want to BE a nurse, why isn't the government facilitating their education? What ever happened to the nurse program through the hospital, and why aren't admissions handled by a central entity instead of 'to each their own'?


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Thanks for your thoughts :)