New treatments and advances in technology have transformed parts of the nursing profession during the past 100 years and the Crouse Hospital College of Nursing has seen them all. The college is celebrating its centennial this weekend. As our Sarah Blazonis tells us, nurses and school officials say the future looks bright for current students, but there are some challenges ahead.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- They come from different backgrounds and even different generations, but the alumni at the Crouse Hospital College of Nursing luncheon all shared the same dream.
"I always wanted to be a nurse and the three years I spent here were just wonderful," said Margaret Gilmore-Steltmann, a member of the college's Class of 1942.
It's a goal that Crouse has helped make a reality for thousands of students throughout the past century. Now, its graduates are in higher demand than ever.
"Especially with health care reform and our aging population and the move to keep patients out of the hospital, there is increasing need for nurses who have specialty knowledge in community health," said the college's director, Pat Zawko.
The U.S. Labor Department predicts job opportunities in the nursing field will grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, higher than any other field. Crouse sees nearly a 100 percent job placement rate because of that demand, which is especially high in rural areas.
One of the challenges for those who want to earn their own diplomas in nursing today could be getting accepted to a program. Officials with Crouse College say that's partly because of high demand, but also because a nationwide teacher shortage has made spots in schools like Crouse's fill up fast.
Current nurses say there's also a growing focus on continued education, including the push to require nurses to earn Bachelor's degrees.
"But also, people are really pushing for Master's prepared nurses," said Barbara Miller Stahl, a member of the Class of '72. "I think that it's a profession that's going to have a lot of educational challenges that these students will be facing."
Though changes are certain, nurses agree it's safe to say theirs is a profession that will always be in demand.
In addition to celebrating its centennial, Crouse College of Nursing is also marking its first Homecoming Weekend.
As for its future, the college is working to make sure it doesn't suffer from the type of teaching shortage seen nationwide. It offers a program for experienced nurses who are working on their Master's degrees that allows them to work with the college for two years, then move into a faculty position.
Officials say they're also constantly working to update the types of programs they offer to make sure their students are prepared when they enter the workforce.