Expectations for nurses are growing

SOUTH BEND May 6-12 has been recognized as National Nurses Week since the 90's. It's a chance for people across the US to thank medical professionals for their continued service to the community.

While the expectation for compassion within the industry hasn't changed, who and what is pictured as a nurse may have. Today, nurses have to integrate technology into daily routines.

"We're savvy when it comes to all of our electronic devices we use," said Bev Teegarden, the Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial.

"We don't use a pen and paper anymore. We use telephones, we use iPads, we use iPhones, we use electronic medical records. It's a lot more difficult for nurses to focus on being genuine, in the moment, connecting with a patient because they have all these electronic devices they pay attention to," said Teegarden.

The demand for nurses is growing too, including for men.

"We're seeing more male nurses," said Teegarden. "We have about 8% male nurses at Memorial. I do believe that's a growing population within nursing as well."

Brian Urgonski is a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Urgonski was laid off from a construction in 2005 and decided to go back to school for nursing.

"IUSB [had] just started an18-month Nursing Program, a Bachelor's program, but you had to have a Bachelor's Degree already," said Urgonski. "So, I went back to school, 18 months later I had another Bachelor's Degree."

"I always have been kind of a people person so I get to work directly with people all the time, it just kind of fit."

Continued education is a growing trend among nurses across the US, and the expectation to go back to school is already in place at Memorial.

"About 50% of our nurses have a BSN or greater," said Teegarden.

"Nursing is an interesting profession, in that you can go to school for two years, four years, five years. There's a variety of ways you can get into the field of nursing."

"The Institute of Medicine has given a recommendation to all nurses that by 2020 we should have 80% of our workforce that has their Bachelor's in nursing. Nurses can enter at an Associate's level and then progress to a Bachelor's and then a Master's and Doctorate in nursing," said Teegarden.

To learn more about scholarship and loan opportunities within Nursing Education, visit the US Department of Health and Human Resources webpage.

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