As a nursing instructor, I find nursing students expressing concerns about entering this wonderful profession. The negativity that students and graduates are exposed to by some nursing staff seems to overshadow the benefits of being a professional nurse. Nurses are telling our students how bad it is, and that they had "better get out while they can." Such comments put questions into the minds of newly developing professional nurses, questions that may become the impetus for leaving the profession or making it a short-term career. The frustrations that exist in the practice of nursing on a day to day basis are certainly understandable. That being said, I believe nurses have an opportunity that they seem to be missing. Nurses need to mentor students to be good nurses and thus lessen the shortage. Nurses can influence the shortage by sharing their expertise with students. Students relish the nurse that takes the time to show them a new procedure or discuss a patient’s care. It's moments like these that bring student and nurse together to impact the problems that face health care today. Nurses do care about their profession, and they want to produce a change. As nurses we must all work to be part of the solution, not part of the problem of the nursing shortage.
Marilyn Miller RN, BSN
Lutheran Medical Center School of Nursing
St. Louis, MO