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CRMC: Nursing still ‘booming’ career choice

Linda Crawford and Chevelle Johnson
Thursday, Jun 6, 2013

Nursing is an excellent choice for caring individuals that seek and desire a rewarding career in health care. It is a great career choice for job growth and security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections 2010-2020 released in February 2012, the registered nursing (RN) workforce is the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2020. It is expected that the number of employed nurses will grow from 2.74 million in 2010 to 3.45 million in 2020, an increase of 712,000 or 26 percent. The projections further explain the need for 495,500 replacements in the nursing workforce bringing the total number of job opening for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.2 million by 2020.

Even though nursing shortages have come and gone over the years, the current nursing shortage is considered one of the worst in history. There are many factors contributing to this, but the improvement in health care is the primary reason. As health care improved, the life expectancy increased. This led to an ever-growing elderly population that has more chronic health problems.

Another significant factor in the nursing shortage is the “baby boomers.” This age group contributes to the nursing shortage in a two-fold manner. As the baby boomers age, their numbers are added to the increasing elderly population needing more health care. In addition, many nurses are part of the baby boomer generation. As they reach retirement age, they are leaving nursing causing a gap in both experience and workforce numbers.

In 1950, Cookeville General Hospital began with a total hospital staff of 30. This included RNs, LPNs, nursing assistants and all other hospital staff. Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) currently employs a staff of more than 2,000, with 649 RNs and 89 LPNs included in that number. CRMC has been very fortunate over the years in not experiencing an acute nursing shortage. This is predominantly due to the excellent School of Nursing at Tennessee Technological University. CRMC has a total of 335 RNs with bachelor of science degrees in nursing. Of those nurses, 295 are graduates from TTU.

Nursing is a very rewarding and respected career. It provides an individual with a sense of meaning by providing worthwhile work and by being able to make a difference in people’s lives. There are so many opportunities in the nursing field. Some of these opportunities include: bedside medical/surgical nursing, emergency department and critical care nursing, surgery, psychiatric, pediatrics, cancer care, management, education, case management, quality, clinical informatics, nurse practitioner and auditing. There are many more opportunities outside the hospital setting such as working in clinics, sales, marketing, home care, research, insurance, school nurse, instructor and many more.

CRMC, as well as the rest of the nation, just recently celebrated National Nurse’s Week (May 6-May 12). Take the time to show appreciation to a nurse you know and join her/him in celebrating all the hard work, dedication and care that nurses do every day.

Linda Crawford is the chief clinical officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, and Chevelle Johnson is the assistant vice president of nursing services. For more information, call (931) 528-2541 or visit

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