Major of the week: Nursing

Jacob Notermann, Staff Writer

Even with labor shortages, these students confront heavy competition

Nursing is one of the few majors where the name of the program is the same as the job. Nursing is a field filled with motivation, dedication and competition.

In a way, a nursing student has one major that can evolve into a second one. A student starts as a pre-nursing major, which UND nursing recruiter Valerie Bauer describes as lots of science classes.

“There’s a little bit more intensity and preparation for their coursework because part of what determines admission into the nursing program are grades in science courses and certain stipulations,” Bauer said.

In order to earn a bachelor’s degree of science and nursing, the student fills out an application for UND’s nursing program.

This program allows students to become registered nurses. Registered nurses are not the stereotypical hospital-lobby type, per say.

“The degree is designed to cover a lot of areas and then the nurse decides where they want to go and how long they want to stay there,” Bauer said.

The application process includes course grades, various nursing tests and clinical experience. This process is blind, meaning things like names and gender are not included when the board reviews the applicant.

Bauer said that the UND nursing program has a 2:1 acceptance rate for applicants. UND has limited facility space, instructors and clinical space.

This leaves the program with a ceiling for how many students can make that jump from pre-nursing to nursing.

Calling the world of nursing competitive is an understatement, yet there is still a great need for more nurses within the next few years. This is, in part, due to the growing number of baby boomers needing care as they reach older ages.

Within nursing, there is a new branch called Informatics Nursing. This field focuses on advancing technology for nursing, including electronic charting.

Engineers team up with nurses to work out what would make their work quicker and more accurate.

“I’ve heard nurses say, ‘if I can’t find this information in two clicks, I’m gonna throw it away. It’ll slow me down,’” Bauer said.

There will be sometime between declaring for pre-nursing and working with actual living humans.

There are simulators with high-tech mannequins and an assortment of biology and chemistry classes. After (on average) four semesters, a then-nursing student endures four semesters’ worth of clinical practicals.

To confront the stereotype, most nurses are female compared to their male colleagues.

In recent years, the gap has been shrinking. In fact, UND has a percentage of males higher than the national average.

“Culturally, people are realizing that there are patients that are more comfortable with males as their caretakers,” Bauer said.

Bauer went on to say that being a recruiter for the nursing program is easy because the students are so driven and dedicated to what they want to do.

Jacob Notermann is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reach at [email protected]