The demand for nurses grows rapidly as our population lives longer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 26% nursing job growth rate, rendering 526,000 new jobs. Consider an additional need for 525,000 nurses to replace those retiring or leaving the field, and the need for new nurses by 2022 exceeds a million.
This promising job outlook is clear in Kirtland Community College’s own backyard and throughout the rest of Michigan. A recent report from Michigan Center for Nursing revealed, for the first time, the number of licensed nurses in the state decreased, while the rate of nurses leaving increased – it’s expected one in three RNs are approaching retirement.
Not too long ago, Michigan found itself with a nursing shortage. This precipitated in schools making changes to their programs – something Kirtland was very much part of. In addition to Kirtland’s Practical Nursing (PN) certificate, LPN to ADN Associate Degree and Associate Degree in Nursing (RN), Kirtland and Saginaw Valley State University partnered to create a RN-BSN hybrid program in 2013. With this, prospective nursing students are able to pursue a BSN degree by taking Kirtland’s RN courses and SVSU’s BSN courses concurrently. The benefits of this type of program are plentiful, including:
- Students pay Kirtland’s tuition rate for majority of classes (1/3 the tuition cost of four-year colleges).
- Flexible scheduling, perfect for the lifestyle of nurses.
- Opportunity to extend career and find employment quickly, as 60% of BSN graduates have job offers by time of graduation.
Additionally, while many other schools have waiting lists, Kirtland uses the HESI exam to bypass the need for a waiting listing into the nursing program. Through this exam, students who pass show they can be successful in the program and are then invited to enroll.
Extension of life is not only increasing the demand of nurses, but is creating new types of health sciences careers. While nursing is the strongest health science program offered at Kirtland – where you can attain your PN, ADN, and RN to BSN (through SVSU partnership) – there are other health science routes available. An emerging field due to longer lifespans is Surgical Technology.
With an aging population, more and more surgical procedures are being developed and used frequently to maintain quality of life. There is a lot of innovation in this area, and there is plenty of need for surgical technologists to assist in carrying out these procedures. It’s a field with an expected 30% growth within the next ten years – a rate much faster than average. More hospitals are also finding it’s more cost-effective to use surgical technologists in operating rooms rather than registered nurses.
The one-year certificate program offered at Kirtland prepares students to assist in surgical operations under surgeon supervision, a crucial role within a hospital operating team. The program, which focuses on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology and professional ethics, is an opportunity for a lucrative, growing career or a way to extend an already developing career.
When you consider the aging population, the rapid job growth and good pay (average annual income for registered nurses is $68,910), the nursing field is wide open for opportunity for a well-paying, long-lasting career. The advancements in surgical technology further drive home the deluge of opportunities for those interested in the health sciences route.