Jeanne M. Novotny, Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, and Doris T. Lippman
Nursing is the health care career of the 21st century. The nation’s nursing shortage is projected to worsen significantly over the next 2 decades. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there were an estimated 1,189 million registered nurses working in the United States in 2000, with the demand for nurses estimated at 2 million. This translates to a 6% shortage of nurses. Based on what is known about trends in the supply of registered nurses and the anticipated demand, the shortage is expected to double to 12% by 2010, to triple by 2015, and continue growing to 29% by 2020. Nursing is listed everywhere as one of the top growth professions.
If you are reading this book, you are undoubtedly a college-bound student with ambition and the desire to work with people, or a nurse who is interested in changing your career focus. We applaud your interest in, curiosity about, and commitment to a career in nursing. Nursing is a discipline that offers both a lifetime of satisfaction in service to others and rewards so great that they cannot be measured. In addition, the choices of careers are, at minimum, 101 possibilities! Can you name one other career path that can take you in so many directions? This means that as you grow and develop as a person you can continually reinvent who you are as a professional nurse. When you choose to become a nurse you will know that at the end of each day you have done work that is substantial and meaningful. You will have opportunities to work with people of all ages in environments that range from caring for a patient who is critically ill to being an editor of a nursing journal.