No Job Shortage Here

No Job Shortage Here

Ann Schuffert, an RN in the Cardiac Cath Lab, sets up a bedside monitor for Greg Eisenstein and explains to him his upcoming heart catherization procedure on Tuesday at Florida Hospital Heartland Division in Sebring. (Jasmina Meyer/Highlands Today)

Bill Rettew Jr. / Highlands Today

December 10, 2008

SEBRING – Snowbird Janet Morris got an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Until a few weeks ago, the 20-year veteran nurse lived year round in Wabash, Ind. While her husband enjoyed several winters here as a seasonal visitor, Morris occasionally visited by plane, but continued to work year-round in the Hoosier State.

Florida Hospital Heartland Division offered to pay Morris’ health care benefits and allow her to work just six months a year locally.

The nurse jumped at the offer and the couple was reunited year-round.

Morris got the unconventional job benefit offer partly because nurses and other health care professionals are in demand both nationally and locally.

Statistics supplied by shows Florida will add more than 6,400 nurses this year, with the number of unfilled positions expected to jump from 10,437 in 2007, to 18,400 in 2010, and about 52,000 in 2020.

Patients are living longer, getting older and when hospitalized are sicker than ever before, according to Donna Snyder, chief nursing officer at Florida Hospital.

Becky Sroda, associate dean of the Allied Health program at South Florida Community College, said all 38 nursing students who graduate later this week were able to find jobs.

“They have to start at the bottom,” said Sroda. “But there are jobs out there. When students come into the program, they’re very optimistic that it will result in good, steady employment.”

While nurses will work hard, with much responsibility and will be well compensated, the college works to instill students with heart, said Sroda.

“The jobs are very rewarding and it feels good to help people, to touch somebody’s life,” said the dean about the qualities that keep many nurses working for decades.

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