Letter to the Editor by Hamilton on Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

May 20, 2002

in response by Jessica Hamilton to Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers" by Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN (January 31, 2001)
with reply by author

Dear Editor:

As a nursing student I found the article Nursing Shortage: Not a Simple Problem - No Easy Answers to be very enlightening. I can definitely see why there might be some hesitation to enter our profession. Nurses appear to be overworked and underpaid, with many nurses not seeming to enjoy nursing. Perhaps this accounts for many nurses quitting the practice of nursing.

However, in my limited experience, I feel the main concern is that many experienced nurses are reluctant to mentor nursing students and new graduates and promote a positive image of nursing. If nurses would be more supportive of each other, especially if seasoned nurses would be more supportive of nursing students and new graduates, more new graduates might want to stay in nursing. Since we do not have a formal residency requirement after graduation as physicians do, it is especially important that nursing education, nursing service and the health care industry recognize the importance of mentoring nursing students and new graduates. Also if all nurses would promote the positives of nursing, the image of, and respect for, nursing could greatly increase. Again, more individuals might consider nursing as a career, thus alleviating the nursing shortage.

I see the nursing shortage as a definite problem; however, I believe it is our responsibility to find a solution. Nurses and nursing students must start supporting each other and get the word out that nursing is a highly respectable, rewarding, and often times life altering profession. I am very excited about becoming an RN someday and certainly look forward to working with nurses who enjoy nursing.

Jessica Hamilton
Nursing Student
Medical College of Georgia
Athens, GA