Considering a Nursing Career?
Shore Health System Offers Programs for All Ages
First in a Series of Three Articles
Women-and men-of all ages and backgrounds are choosing nursing as a first or second career that offers rewarding work, job security, advancement potential, good pay and benefits, and the flexibility to accommodate various life stages. Nurses are intelligent, motivated multi-taskers with good critical-thinking and people skills and a desire to help people.
Shore Health System provides an array of programs to attract, educate, and transition new and returning nurses. Sherry Councell, RN, Nurse Support Specialist, encourages elementary, middle, and high school students throughout the Mid-Shore region to consider a nursing career. A statewide commission recently recognized Shore Health System for its Health Career Days held at Chesapeake College and area middle schools. Councell says that these programs, in addition to those held in the Mobile Learning Lab operated by the Workforce Investment Board, introduce healthcare as an option as students are selecting career tracks.
Nurses-in-training pursue their academic and clinical education through several Shore Health System programs. Summer internships for students entering their senior year of nursing school provide first-hand experience working with a registered nurse. A pre-nursing extern program exposes high school and college students to acute healthcare settings such as a physician's office. Partnerships with Chesapeake College and Baltimore's Villa Julie College have expanded registered nurse (RN) and baccalaureate nursing programs on the Eastern Shore.
Innovative support programs help nursing school graduates transition into the real world of nursing. Critical Care University is an intensive, ten-month program for new or returning nurses seeking specialty training in emergency or intensive care nursing. Graduate University is a five-month training program designed for novice nurses in other specialties. Both "universities" give newcomers a well-rounded orientation by combining classroom lecture, skills lab practicum, and unit-based clinical rotations. Participants become full-time Shore Health System employees, which provides an "earn while you learn" advantage.
Karen Hendricks, RN, BSN, MSHCA, Director of Shore Health System's Institute of Nursing Science, says, "A driving force for the programs was our desire to support novice nurses and to facilitate their transition to experienced nurses." She adds that nursing has become a more respected, autonomous profession with a body of knowledge particular to its own professional license. "In my 31 years in nursing, I have worked in at least eight specialty areas. I have never been bored and never wanted to be doing anything else."