Nurses seek work, plan for future

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While the healthcare industry is generally regarded to be a growing sector of the economy, a new study shows even it may not be safe from decreased hiring.

In a report released in January by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, job openings for nurses, pharmacists and other jobs in the healthcare industry are approaching historic lows.

According to the report, the decline in openings coincide with a record number of medical school graduates, as schools across Wisconsin and the nation admit more students to their programs.

For example, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee doubled its graduating class size in the fall of 2012, increasing the number of nurses from 50 to 100 and its graduate program from 25 to 50, according to data from its website.

The report said hospitals in the state employ 4,000 nurse practitioners and 2,100 physician assistants.

Sarah Schwei, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, said her unique experience as an ROTC cadet assures her of having a job after graduation, but even the armed services are cutting back.

“Since I am in the Army ROTC program, I’m guaranteed a job after college,” Schwei said. “However, even the military is cutting back on their nurses. Before, if you received a nursing scholarship for the Army, you were guaranteed active duty after you graduate school. Now, active duty is not guaranteed – you have to compete for active slots, or else you will receive a reserve (position).”

Schwei said she has always wanted to be a nurse because she has family members who are alumni of Marquette’s nursing program. She said her cousin and aunt both love their jobs.

“My dream job in nursing is being an Army nurse,” Schwei said. “I think it is the most rewarding job for me. I get to serve my country and care for America’s heros. However, I also plan on going back to school for nursing informatics.”

Rachel Schmiedl, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, said she only recently decided to become a nurse but has always known she wanted to do something in the medical field.

Schmiedl said she isn’t worried about the tough economy because there will always be places where people will need nurses.

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