November 4, 2011
By Doug Carroll
GCU's recent growth as an institution was on display Friday for a record number of high school students from across Arizona at the annual Health Sciences and Nursing Day.
|An estimated 2,500 students - an increase of 1,000 over 2010 - visited campus, attending a number of breakout sessions and touring points of interest such as the cadaver and simulation labs. About 60 high schools were represented, from as far as Prescott, Bisbee, Tucson and Nogales.
Dr. Cheryl Roat, associate dean for the College of Nursing, had a standing-room-only audience for her early morning talk on "The Top 10 Reasons to Be a Nurse."
Since its first graduating class in 1984, the University's nursing college has grown to the point where it is admitting about 400 students annually and holding classes at five satellite locations in addition to the main campus.
Roat, a pediatric nurse who has been on the faculty for 24 years, said a nationwide nursing shortage will approach 800,000 by 2020, creating a multitude of career opportunities for GCU graduates in the state and beyond.
"Hospitals are wanting to hire BSN graduates," she said, "but currently less than 30 percent of RNs in Arizona are BSN-prepared."
|Roat's top 10 reasons to be a nurse:
A light in your house and food on your table."Not too many nurses don't have a job," Roat said, adding that starting salaries can be $45,000 and higher.
"Womb to tomb" care. "You can choose the age group you want to work with."
A license to practice in a variety of settings."This can depend on your personality. A high-energy person might want to work in critical care. There are so many different areas."
The opportunity to meet a diverse mix of people. "That makes it exciting, getting to know people who are different from you."
Respect. According to a 2007 Gallup Poll, nursing is the most trusted profession. "It's all about relationships. People will tell you things they'd never tell anyone else."
Travel to interesting places. "People are so loving and so grateful (for care), and it's fun to learn about other cultures. It can change your life."
Flexibility of work schedule. "There are many options, and if you don't like one, you can change."
Knowledge of mind, body and spirit. "You look at people a different way with the knowledge you have. At GCU, we emphasize the spirituality, which is a neglected area. Every course you take, you will use."
Career advancement. "There are studies validating that a higher level of education (for a nurse) decreases patient mortality."
The personal satisfaction of making a difference. "That's why you get up every day."
Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or email@example.com.