May 6 is the first day of National Nurses Week. But why, across the nation, are we seeing a shortage of nurses? It turns out it's not so much a shortage of nurses as it is an increase in patients with the aging baby boomer population.
Nurses are needed, and staff at Portneuf Medical Center says being a nurse is an important role to play in any hospital.
"We spend more time with the patients than physicians do,” said Chief Nursing Officer Natalie Smith. “You certainly have to be comfortable being available, interacting, educating and being supportive of patients."
While we're seeing more health care options with the Affordable Care Act, that also creates more people who will be getting care, and more need for nurses.
"So you could see, in the next 10 years the job market open up another million jobs for nurses alone," said Charlie Aasand, director of behavioral health at Portneuf.
Smith said many people may only think of nursing as being a hospital nurse, or a nurse in an assisted living facility, but she said it's important to remember there are a lot more options like education, management and research.
"You have to think about nursing as a being career choice, and with that choice comes specialties, not just the bedside care,” Smith said. “It's a wide spectrum."
She said many of those career choices are flexible with schedules and can be as hands on or off as you want.
Director or Perioperative Services Cindy Read said she thinks it's important to check on your career goals, and find out if there's a nursing position that could be right for you.
"If I could encourage anybody to consider it, we need it,” Read said. “As a community we need people to be nursing to care for each other."
And all three said that's why there are celebrations happening at Portneuf Medical Center this whole week.
"One of the things we're most proud of is the care we give our patients,” Aasand said, “and the fact that we're nurses."