This article appeared in a February 2016 issue of the student newsletter.
By Marielle McGregor
Working as a nurse is rewarding. You can prevent suffering, help family members cope with their loved ones' illnesses and even save lives. The job also pays well, with entry-level registered nurses (RNs) earning an average of $57,000 per year.
While the rewards are great, the workers are few.
Did you know the need for nurses in Dallas is in critical condition? There is a huge shortage of nurses.
This critical shortage becomes very clear when you look at the stats. For example, if you examine January 2016, you’ll see a large gap between the number of job postings for nurses and the number of skilled nurses actually available in the area. There are a lot more job postings than there are qualified nurses.
Fact: Dallas County needs more than 4,000 registered nurses today. Not tomorrow, or next week, but today.
Of course, that number will continue to rise as Dallas County continues to grow. You may have noticed that people keep moving to Dallas, and they bring their health care needs with them.
It is estimated that in two years, by 2018, Dallas County will need 2,824 more registered nurses than it does today.
Who does the community turn to when there is a shortage of skilled workers? The community college.
For 50 years, Dallas’ community colleges have stepped forward to help train Dallasites for careers in top growing industries. You might even call it a tradition.
It is no surprise, then, that DCCCD has stepped up to tackle the nursing shortage.
To meet the need for nurses in Dallas, DCCCD continues to grow its nursing programs. That means more instructors, more laboratories and more class offerings.
DCCCD is also speeding up the path to graduation. Typically registered nurses (RNs) spend four years studying. At DCCCD, you can become an RN with a two-year degree. Tuition rates are affordable so you save time and money.
Currently, students can take nursing classes at four (out of seven) DCCCD colleges.
When DCCCD students complete their two-year nursing degree, they are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN examination. Students who pass the exam earn their nursing license from the Texas Board of Nursing and can begin seeking employment.
Just as law graduates must pass a bar exam to practice law, nursing graduates must pass the NLCEX-RN exam to practice nursing.
Last month, the Texas Board of Nursing released the 2015 pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)-RN exam. And you know what? Students in the DCCCD Nursing programs shined.
The 2015 report shows that of the 70-plus associate degree nursing programs in Texas, Brookhaven and Mountain View are two of only seven colleges to achieve a pass rate of 95 percent or above. That is outstanding! Students cite the hands-on training, lecture, skills labs and clinical experience at DCCCD as their main study material.
At DCCCD, studying for an associate degree in nursing is a full-time program that includes hospital rotations involving both day and evening hours. Every student participates in a wide variety of procedures and learns through daily, hands-on training.
Because the nursing program is academically rigorous, the application process is selective. Not every student who applies to the program gets in. If you’re thinking about applying, please check with an academic advisor at the college of your choice to find the right fit for you.
So what are the employment rates like? Well, for DCCCD graduates, very high.
For example, in fall 2014 — the most recent employment data available — 91 percent of graduates from the El Centro College Associate Degree Nursing program were employed full-time. This number was equally high — 92 percent — for students who earned their licensed vocational nursing (LVN) certificate.
Note: These high employment rates for graduates are expected to increase. America’s Career Infonet lists registered nurses as No. 1 of its top 36 careers with the most job openings through 2022.
Are you interested in a career in health sciences but cannot commit to attending school full time? Or perhaps you aren’t sure which health career is right for you?
Meet with a representative from the DCCCD Health Careers Resource Center to learn about the many health care degrees and certificates available at the colleges of DCCCD. They are happy to help you figure out which career would best fit your interests and schedule.
Upcoming Health Career Days, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., include:
The Health Careers Resource Center also has a quick, three-question survey to help you determine which career is right for you. Handy, eh?
Want to learn more about nursing?
Visit dcccd.edu/nursing to read student success stories or explore career paths and salary ranges. You can even sign up to receive “Tell Me More” emails with practical information from industry professionals and nursing alumni.