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10 Facts You May Not Know About Nursing

Nurses in the Community Blood Donor Program, MetroWest Medical Center Nurses in the Community Blood Donor Program, MetroWest Medical Center
May 6, 2011

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Nursing is the largest health care occupation, with 2.6 million registered nurses. Nursing is also one of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. But did you know that?...

* Despite the current easing of the nursing shortage due to the recession, the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025, according to an article in the July/August 2009 Health Affairs. A shortage of this magnitude would be twice as large as any nursing shortage experienced in this country since the mid-1960s.

* Tens of thousands of qualified nursing school applicants were turned away last year because U.S. nursing schools didn't have enough faculty or educational capacity to teach them.

* Only three out of five nurses work in hospitals. Nurses also work in schools, correctional facilities, private companies, home health, nursing homes, government agencies, social assistance agencies, and research labs.

* The rising number of seriously ill patients has demanded more complex and specialized skill sets. In-demand specialties include traveling nurses, nurse informatics specialists, acute nurse practitioners, geriatric nurses, hospice nurses, and home care nurses.

* One out of every four registered nurses works part time.

* The New England Hospital for Women and Children, established in 1862, was the first nursing school in the country.

* In the U.S. military, approximately one-third of all nurses are male.

* According to a Robert Wood Johnson/Gallup survey, four out of five opinion leaders say there is a nursing shortage in the United States. University faculty members are significantly more likely to say there is a nursing shortage than corporate executives, significantly fewer of whom are likely to see a shortage.

* The most visits to emergency rooms occur during the warmer months of the year.

* Florence Nightingale, the most famous nurse in modern history, was only a nurse for three years.