Healthy Living: Nurse shortage

(Shelby Star) “I didn’t know what to do,” said Connie Miller. “They decided to ship their product to Mexico and China.”

After 21 years in the auto-parts industry, Connie Miller, already in her mid 40’s, was forced to start over.

“After the initial shock and the madness I saw it as a new opening. Ok, one door closes and another one’s opening,” said Miller.

Connie always dreamed of becoming a nurse. Four years ago, more nurses were needed.

“I thought it was a blessing because this is something I want to do and there’s a shortage of nurses,” said Miller.

After training to become a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, Connie was hired at Rochester General Hospital a program that supported her as she continued her studies.

“We support our team in going back to school. So patient care techs or other individuals who work in the hospital we provide tuition support and scholarships to help them through that process,” said Cheryl Sheridan.

It’s additional training.

“Nurses I believe are actually the future,” said Sheridan.

This hospital’s chief nursing officer says will be need Cheryl Sheridan started as an associate nurse and over the years she saw the value of advanced training. Sheridan said this training will become even more important as many older nurses near retirement.

“We’re reaching a point where likely those nurses are going to be leaving and then we’ll have an influx of new nurses,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan supports a proposal that would require nurses who graduate with a two year degree to get their bachelors degree in 10 years. The bills sponsor in the state assembly says change will better prepare nurses for the challenges ahead.

Assemblyman, Joe Morelle said, “Particularly in an environment where patients are asked to do more and more as a part of health care and where as health care is getting more technical, more challenging.”

“This is my calling this is where I’m supposed be,” said Miller.

Days after she officially became an RN Connie was offered a new job at the same hospital. She said helping others has it’s own rewards.

“And you walk in the room and they have a smile on their face and say thank you, you know you made a difference. That’s my favorite part,” said Miller.

She has a simple piece of advice for those getting back into the job market.

Miller said, “This is your second career. Your second try at life. Do what you want to do. Not what you have to do. Enjoy it embrace it and just go for it.”