"Have you looked at nursing lately?"

Martha N. Hill with students

“Have you looked at nursing lately?”

That’s the question nursing educators and administrators throughout the world have been asking over the years of a wide range of audiences. As the nursing shortage increasingly impacts nursing education and practice, we’ve tried to encourage those thinking about changing careers or making their first career choice to consider nursing. We promoted the career satisfaction of nursing, its global opportunities, the high-paying and flexible jobs, and the emotionally and intellectually rewarding work-just to name a few.

Today, others are joining in. The new question is “Have you looked at nursing recently?” And now it’s the economists, financial pundits, career advisors, statisticians, book authors, media, and even parents and families of prospective nurses who are posing the question.

Why? Because it’s in the news: “Nursing is a recession-proof job.”

The media–NBC News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Sunday Herald, MSN.com, National Public Radio, Forbes.com, and advice columnists and bloggers everywhere–have suddenly discovered our profession. We’re listed in the top 100 most recession-proof jobs. Economists are writing books about the opportunities nursing offers not just today, but for tomorrow and the long term.

None of this is new “news” to any of us here at the School of Nursing or the Johns Hopkins hospitals, or to nurses anywhere in the world. Not only have we been in on this secret for a very long time, but we have the inside story: Nursing also is an incredibly exciting and wonderfully intriguing recession-proof career and one of the most trusted professions in our nation and around the globe.

With this new wave of publicity helping to carry our message, it’s time for all of us in the nursing profession–not just the educators and administrators–to let others in on that secret. We need to tell the stories of our profession and make sure that for those making career choices amidst today’s economic crises, nursing should be at the top of their lists.

Let’s tell them that nursing is a golden opportunity for those making a first career choice and seeking an education that will ensure an equitable return on investment. For those considering a career change–and exploring how their previous education, experience and current skills could shape a new career–explain that nursing is more than just a way to ride out an economic slump, it’s the path to their next success.

  • Urge them to consider all the options a career in nursing has to offer. Tell them if they were interested in or have been working in the fields of:
  • Global finance, explore global nursing.
  • Political campaigning and grassroots activism, think about community public health nursing.
  • Crisis management, analyze critical care and emergency nursing.
  • Legislative issue management, look at nursing and health care policy development.
  • Financial planning and analysis, discover the best practices and economies of nursing and health care administration.
  • Journalism, investigate forensic nursing or examine nursing research.
  • Product management and quality control, scrutinize patient safety and quality of care.
  • Making a difference in people’s lives and in the world, choose nursing.

Let’s tell them: Choose nursing. The possibilities are limitless; the rewards are exceptional.

Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN, ’64
Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health

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