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Chief Academic Officer Says San Francisco Needs 14,000 Nurses By 2020

From candy striper to naval nurse to chief academic officer, Christy Torkildson’s passion has always been nursing. Hailing from Brooklyn and Miami, Torkildson worked as a candy striper at the local Children’s Hospital and knew that she had found her calling. She currently serves as chief academic officer for Unitek College and NCP College of Nursing, overseeing all academic programs and administering Unitek’s CCNE-accredited (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) RN to B.S.N. nursing program to over 1000 students at five campus locations.

Christy Torkildson

Unitek College CAO, Christy Torkildson

What is your background and education?

“I have a B.S. and M.S. in Nursing, with an emphasis on administration and education, and will soon be defending my Ph.D. in Family Nursing and Health Policy at UCSF. I’ve worked Neuro ICU, Oncology, Neonatal ICU, OB, Pediatrics as well as working as clinical specialist, nursing informatics and house supervisor. I began as a Navy nurse and was the first program director for George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, the first pediatric end-of-life and transitional care facility for children and their families in the country. I started teaching as a part-time clinical adjunct professor in 1990 and have been teaching ever since.”

What is your outlook on the health care industry in San Francisco for jobs?

“The country is facing a nursing shortage – the workforce is expected to grow by over half a million by 2022. The San Francisco Bay Area – impacted by an aging population, the Affordable Care Act as well as having a concentration of world-class medical institutions –will need over 14,000 nurses by 2020. Is the investment worth it? RNs in San Francisco make $91,000+ a year compared to the national average of $65,000. There’s also the need for qualified nursing instructors where graduate degrees are required.”

What career advice can you offer to students interested in a career in health care?

“The health care field is full of opportunities from direct patient interaction to supportive services. I decided what kind of nursing I wanted to do by volunteering as a candy striper. Attend career fairs and college open house events where you can talk to individuals working in the diverse fields of health care and nursing and speak directly to health care professionals about their experiences and education.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

Source: Yahoo.com

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Nursing Industry Desperate to Find New Hires

Please, please accept a high-paying job with us. In fact, just swing by for an interview and we’ll give you a chance to win cash and prizes.

Sounds too good to be true, especially in an economy riddled with job cuts in nearly every industry. But applicants for nursing jobs are still so scarce that recruiters have been forced to get increasingly inventive.

One Michigan company literally rolled out a red carpet at a recent hiring event. Residential Home Health, which provides in-home nursing for seniors on Medicare, lavished registered nurses and other health care workers with free champagne and a trivia contest hosted by game-show veteran Chuck Woolery. Prizes included a one-year lease for a 2009 SUV, hotel stays and dinners.

“We’re committed to finding ways to creatively engage with passive job seekers,” said David Curtis, president of the Madison Heights-based company.

Recruiters like Curtis may have little choice. The long-standing U.S. nurse shortage has led to chronic understaffing that can threaten patient care and nurses’ job satisfaction, and the problem is expected to worsen.

The shortage has been operating since World War II on an eight- to 10-year cycle, industry experts say. Each time the number of nurses reaches a critical low, the government adds funding and hospitals upgrade working conditions. But as the deficit eases, those retention efforts fade and eventually the old conditions return, often driving nurses into other professions.

“We recently had a hiring event where, for experienced nurses to interview — just to interview — we gave them $50 gas cards,” said Tom Zinda, the director of recruitment at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in the Milwaukee-area city of Glendale. “We really try to get as creative as we can. It’s a tough position to fill.”

Recruiters across the country have tried similar techniques, offering chair massages, lavish catering and contests for flat-screen TVs, GPS devices and shopping sprees worth as much as $1,000.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts about 233,000 additional jobs will open for registered nurses each year through 2016, on top of about 2.5 million existing positions. But only about 200,000 candidates passed the Registered Nurse licensing exam last year, and thousands of nurses leave the profession each year.

Several factors are in play: a lack of qualified instructors to staff training programs, lack of funding for training programs, difficult working conditions and the need for expertise in many key nursing positions.

Cheryl Peterson, the director of nursing practice and policy for the American Nurses Association in Silver Spring, Md., said employers must raise salaries and improve working conditions.

“The wages haven’t kept up with the level of responsibility and accountability nurses have,” said Peterson, whose organization represents nurses’ interests. Chronic understaffing means nurses are overworked, she said, and as burned-out nurses leave the situation spirals for the colleagues they leave behind.

Some hospital departments where experience is vital, such as the emergency room or intensive-care unit, simply cannot hire newly minted nurses. So managers in those areas have even fewer staffing choices.

Nurses qualified to teach aspiring nurses are scarce chiefly because they can make at least 20 percent more working at a hospital, experts said.

“It can be hard to turn down that extra money,” said Robert Rosseter, the associate executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in Washington, D.C.

Many recruiters have looked for employees overseas, and about one-fourth of the nurses who earned their licenses in 2007 were educated internationally, most in the Philippines and India.

Some health organizations go out of their way to recruit as many nurses as possible even when they’re overstaffed.

Residential Home Health, the home-nursing company in Michigan, is always looking to hire, Curtis said. Even with 375 clinical professionals on staff, his recruiters are eager to sign up as many as 50 more nurses and therapists, hence the Chuck Woolery event.

Zinda, the Milwaukee-area recruiter, said creative recruiting helps to introduce nurses to his hospital. Besides offering interviewees $50 gas cards, he has provided $100 gift cards to the local mall, and created a Facebook page to target younger nurses.

Attracting good candidates is about offering good working conditions, he said, but creative recruiting goes a long way in generating a buzz.

“Bottom line, you need to get people excited about what you’re offering,” he said. “If you don’t, they can easily go elsewhere.”

Article Written by: Dinesh Ramde

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Is There A Healthcare Crisis or A Shortage of Nurses?

We have all heard horror stories of how we are all headed towards an economic disaster with the falling stock market, the mortgage crisis, and the never ending saga about the empty coffers of our state government. Is Health care next? Should one expect wages to drop? And demand to suddenly drop?

Irrespective of who wins the elections, and how dramatically the national economy may fall, health care services is one area which can’t keep up with the escalating demand. North of 60% of the population is demanding premium health care services and expect the service providers to drop the nurse to patient ratio to be a lot lower than current metrics. This is even more apparent in states such as Florida and California with resident population demographics leaning towards the aged.

Due to the shortage of qualified local nurses, an increasing number of recruiting firms are targeting Canadian and other international markets to lure experienced nurses to better paying employment opportunities with U.S. employers. The only way we can meet the burgeoning demand, is to increase seats in our Pharmacy, Vocational Nursing and LVN and RN programs and send more nursing graduates into the work force. More supply won’t alone solve the problem, but it’s one of the ways to alleviate the impact of the health care crisis. Complement the increased supply with a partnership- between the federal government and the industry-which join hands and make the proposition of entering the nursing profession a sweeter deal – and a national crisis, can indeed be averted.

Is the current economic disaster affecting you in any way?

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Nursing Jobs, Become an Instructor

Have you ever felt like you wanted to help people? That you wanted to make a real difference to your community and do something extremely worthwhile? If these are the sorts of questions you answer yes to, then have you ever considered a nursing job?

Nursing is one of those professions which have its roots buried deep in history. Indeed there have always been people who looked after and cared for the sick or injured. In some cultures this would be a ‘medicine man’, in other cultures there were figures such as herbalists and the like. However, nursing only really became recognized as a formal profession relatively recently when Florence Nightingale founded what we now consider as the modern concept of nursing.

Of course, some people may instinctively tell themselves that they could never work in a nursing job because they are too squeamish, or because they wouldn’t be able to cope with the stresses of trying to cope with patients with life threatening diseases or injuries. Of course that may be the case, but this is only one side of nursing. There are many, many other aspects to the job which many people do not realize exist, for instance health or industrial nursing, public health nursing and private duty nursing.

In fact, the nursing domain extends even further than that – one such possible career path is in the nursing instructor field. Of course, before anyone can become a fully qualified nurse they must first go through the necessary training, education and study of both the theoretical and practical aspects of nursing. This in turn means that of course, there needs to be someone there to act as an instructor and tutor to the student nurses.

By working as a nursing instructor not only will you be able to directly help to train and educate a new generation of nurses, but you will also be indirectly helping your community by ensuring that the hospitals in your area have the most highly skilled nursing staff.

Most of your duties will revolve around the student nurses, for example, you will spend most of your working time demonstrating and teaching patient care in the classroom, as well as supervising the student nurses when delivering patient care in clinical units of the hospital. A nursing instructor is also responsible for conducting and supervising laboratory work and issuing assignments.

This is a very rewarding career path, and is essentially what used to be referred to as a ‘job for life’. Let’s just think about that, there will always be a need for individuals who are trained as caregivers, and therefore there will always be a need to the nursing instructors who offer help and guidance through that training. So as you can see, a career as a nursing instructor really is one of the most satisfying and worthwhile nursing jobs in the health care industry today.

Nursing Jobs – Click Here
Nursing Instructor Jobs – Click Here

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Why You Should Become A Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technicians work under the supervision of registered pharmacists, assisting them with the filling of drug prescriptions, reviewing orders for dosages, allergies, incompatibilities and interactions. It is a job that requires an astute knowledge of chemistry, biology & math. A Pharmacy Technician often also interacts with the customers they service, so a Pharmacy Tech must be personable and patient when dealing with people who are sick and not necessary in the best frame of mind.

This is the perfect job for someone who enjoys multi-tasking and having different things to do each day they come into work. Some days you come in and you have lots of prescriptions to fill as well as long lines of customers to service. Conversely, there may also be those days when you are able to quickly fill the few prescriptions you have as well as service the handful of customers and then you are free to assist the registered pharmacist in other aspects of the laboratory.

Other things a Pharmacy Technician will get to do include mixing, measuring, packaging, and delivering medications as well as maintaining computerized lists of the medications in circulation and checking with the pharmacists before delivering any medication, to see whether those are the right drugs. They may also be called upon to clean and sterilize the instruments, transporting medication and pharmacy equipment to clinics and nursing units, answering various questions about non-drug products, or calling physicians’ offices for prescription refills.

There is no requirement for formal training or licensing as pharmacy technician. However, on-the-job training is less available nowadays, and employers prefer individuals who hold a pharmacy tech certification issued by a training institution. There is a voluntary exam that future pharmacy technicians can take, known as the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examinations.

Do you know anyone right now who is a Pharmacy Technician? What have they said about their experiences?

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Healthcare Jobs Strong; Even In Fears of Recession

With a degree in nursing, Elsa Mendoza didn’t have to look far for a job. After receiving her degree in nursing from Unitek College in 2007, the 25-year-old Elsa applied for positions at four local hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area; (Kaiser, Stanford Hospital, El Camino Hospital, and Good Samaritan). Elsa soon received four job offers from all four hospitals. Within a short period of time Elsa was earning an annual income of more than $65,000 and only working four days a week.

As the fears of recession build up, employees begin to worry about their future, fortunately nursing jobs are one of the five careers that are recession proof according to Yahoo.

“As long as people continue to get sick, there will be a need for nurses. Nurses perform perhaps the most critical role of all–they save lives and prevent illness. And with demographic shifts putting extra strain on the health care system, nurses are experiencing unprecedented demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nearly 30 percent growth in nursing jobs through 2014, the second largest increase of any occupation.”

Did your profession make the top five recession proof careers?