NORFOLK, NE – As Baby Boomers age and the need for health care grows, the shortage of nursing professionals across the nation is expected to intensify. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports one million registered nurses (RN) in the United States will leave the work force by 2030. With the impending crisis at hand, Northeast Community College continually works with area employers through a variety of ways to connect them with its students to address workforce needs. One of which is the institution’s Nursing Career Fair.
Approximately 125 students who will be graduating from the Northeast practical nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs and from the University of Nebraska Medical Center - Northern Division’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in May 2020, participated in the annual event recently in the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk.
Northeast RN student Jacob Steiner, Norfolk, desires to work in an intensive care unit at a large trauma center. He describes his time in the Northeast program as “fantastic.”
“It’s a tough program out here, but they hold you to high standards which gives our graduates an advantage over others.”
Dr. Karen Weidner, director of nursing programs at Northeast, said there were representatives from 37 healthcare facilities, with several being from northeast Nebraska, who attended the fair.
“The Nursing Career Fair is a great opportunity for students and health care facilities. It provided students with the opportunity to explore various careers within nursing, interact with nurses and nurse leaders employed at various facilities and enhance their interviewing skills.”
Students enrolled in the Northeast program learn the art and science of nursing through a combination of theory taught by experienced faculty and clinical courses that are specific to each level of nursing. Clinical coursework is completed in local hospitals, long-term care facilities and community based settings. State-of-the-art simulations in the J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing building on the Norfolk campus create learning experiences that supplement actual clinical time.
Steiner said he appreciated having the career fair on campus, which he called a unique opportunity for all of the nursing students.
“It gives us a chance to talk to the managers or the nursing directors at those facilities that you don’t really get an opportunity to do so otherwise. Having them all here allows us to get multiple opportunities to interact with potential future employers.”
Weidner said not only do students benefit from the career fair, but representatives of health care facilities get to interact with potential employees and showcase their facilities.
“Our goal is to help secure employment for graduates, but also minimize the shortage of nurses for health care facilities.”
Samantha Brester, Howells, (center) and Dana Pelster, Petersburg, nursing students at Northeast Community College, visit with Bill Hagemann and Abby Wacker of Franciscan Care Services, Inc., of West Point, during Northeast’s annual Nursing Career Fair recently on the Norfolk campus. Hagemann is a graduate of the Northeast nursing program.