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Trumbull Nursing Program Grows to Meet Future Health Care Needs

Despite a national unemployment rate that continues to hover in the double digits and grim outlooks for many job seekers, the healthcare industry is one of the few fields that continues to prosper in the face of hard economic times.

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Trumbull Nursing Program Grows to Meet Future Health Care Needs

Posted Jan. 31, 2011

Despite a national unemployment rate that continues to hover in the double digits and grim outlooks for many job seekers, the healthcare industry is one of the few fields that continues to prosper in the face of hard economic times.

regional feature Trumbull Nursing inside
Nurses will enjoy numerous career opportunities.
According to Monster.com, healthcare jobs are expected to grow by roughly 22 percent, or 3.2 million jobs, by 2018. And within that field, one of the most sought after needs is that for more registered nurses, an area that Monster projects will generate more than 580,000 new jobs by 2016 - a figure which does not count additional jobs that will become available when older nurses retire.

Helping to fill that growing need is Kent State University at Trumbull's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The program recently opened the spring 2011 semester with a record-high 60 sophomore students enrolled, an increase of 33 percent from one year ago.

"Healthcare professions, and nursing in particular, are consistently listed as careers which people should look at in terms of long-term employment," says Phyllis Jean DeFiore-Golden, assistant professor of nursing at Kent State Trumbull "Every month, a new study or report is published citing the need for more professional nurses.

"The profession of nursing has always provided a good, stable career, with good pay and portability, DeFiore-Golden continues. "This remains true today. At present, nursing has made huge strides in areas of professionalism, autonomy and clinical practice roles. When we look at our community, for instance, the employment prospects are not always as plentiful as we would like. But, a nurse can move 50 miles in any direction of our community and find any number of nursing job opportunities. The Kent State nursing graduate is a well-sought after commodity, and the College of Nursing gets numerous calls from healthcare organizations each year asking the college to send our graduates their way."

In addition to nursing's appeal as an "in demand" career field, DeFiore-Golden adds that she has noticed a pendulum swing back to nursing's roots as to why more students are filling the Kent State Trumbull classrooms.

"We're seeing more and more students turning to nursing, because they want to be in a true service profession," explains DeFiore-Golden. "They want to serve others and make a difference in another person's life. For many years, I've heard prospective students say 'I need a job, and nursing is a good one'. It's rewarding to me, as a nursing professor, to see students choosing this path because they see it as a 'calling.' Caring is one of the foundations on which this profession was built, and caring needs to continue to be at the heart of the profession."

Kent State Trumbull's nursing program employs five full-time faculty members and recently added a full-time lab coordinator; the addition of which, according to DeFiore-Golden, has given Kent State Trumbull students more access to the learning assistance they need to become safe, competent professional nurses. With the influx of additional students, the lab coordinator provides a significant resource for individual learning both inside and outside of the classroom.

Along with additional instruction, the need for additional clinical sites to host the growing student population has been a challenge as well. With more nursing programs competing for clinical experiences, local hospitals and healthcare facilities have been flooded with students, so nurse educators have become more creative in looking for other clinical experiences to satisfy the learning needs of the nursing students. The community clinics, home health care agencies, and day cares, to name a few, have filled in the gap and are providing excellent learning opportunities for the students.

"As a faculty, we have been able to think outside the box," DeFiore-Golden concludes. "We've been able to make the necessary modifications and adjustments to establish relationships with new healthcare partners to the benefit of all."

For more information about the program, go to the Kent State Trumbull website.

By Robb King

Pictured on the front: Gina Severino, assistant professor (left) and nursing student Mallory Bell review IV procedures at Kent State Trumbull.