Retraining Displaced Workers As Nurses
by TheCommuter, ASN, RN Senior Moderator | 9,924 Views | 53 Comments
The intended purpose of this article is to discuss the various issues surrounding the recruitment of unemployed and displaced workers into the nursing profession.
- 14 Published Jul 18, '12
When the economy started to slump after the financial meltdown in the U.S. several years ago, masses of displaced workers suddenly began to view nursing as a safe haven. The nursing profession has been a magnet for many unemployed people heading back to school (Robertson, 2011). During the past few years, people from various backgrounds have been flocking to the healthcare field due to the perception of job security, career mobility, and steady income.
Government money has paid part or all of the bill for those displaced workers to retrain (Schultz, 2010). And now that they have retrained, many are still seeking employment because something unexpected took place as the economy tanked. Shortages that had been evident for almost a decade were all but wiped out as retired nurses returned to the workforce (Robertson, 2011). Also, nurses who once planned to retire had decided to keep working to replenish retirement accounts that lost money during the recession.
Is retraining displaced workers to become nurses a good idea? Even though this can be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no,' the question is not as concrete as it may appear. I will start by saying that many displaced workers would surely turn out to be amazing nurses due to their work ethic, life experience, maturity, unique personalities, and eagerness to learn. In addition, it greatly helps the situation if the dislocated worker has a true interest in healthcare and a passion for helping others.
However, a mass effort to retrain unemployed people and track them into one specific career pathway cannot always be beneficial, especially if many of these individuals didn't really have the inclination or personal desire to become nurses in the first place. In fact, too many people who are currently enrolled in nursing programs divulge that they dislike many aspects of nursing, but the idea of a middle-class income at the end of the pipeline was too irresistible to pass up.
Do other professions actively encourage displaced workers to become members of their ranks? There's a dearth of qualified employees in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professions here in the U.S., but the leaders of these fields are not looking at unemployed people as the quick and easy solution to their labor shortages. This country is badly in need of family practice doctors, but I suspect the American Medical Association would frown upon using dislocated workers to fill more slots in medical school.
The displaced worker who has the desire to become a nurse should follow his or her dream and take the necessary steps. However, the people who are jumping on the nursing bandwagon for the supposed security and 'big bucks' might become sorely disappointed.
Last edit by Joe V on Jul 18, '12
About TheCommuter, ASN, RN
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied workplace experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for four years prior to earning RN licensure.
TheCommuter has '9' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 33 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 28,327; Likes: 41,298. You can follow TheCommuter on My Website2Jul 18, '12 by emcadamsI have never heard of this program. I lost my finance job in the crisis, and since I'd intended to become a nurse for several years prior I chose to go for it. I assure you I am not receiving assistance with nursing school, and I was never offered any. I work as a CNA now and my tuition comes out of my income. I wonder if it's state by state?1Jul 18, '12 by TheCommuter, ASN, RN Senior ModeratorQuote from emcadamsClick on the links below to read about special programs that train displaced workers to become nurses. The WIA (Workforce Investment Act) provides grants to certain dislocated workers who wish to retrain for another career. The focus appears to be on getting blue-collar workers retrained. I do not know if anything exists for former finance employees.Can you give some examples? I have never heard of this program. I lost my finance job in the crisis, and since I'd intended to become a nurse for several years prior I chose to go for it. I assure you I am not receiving assistance with nursing school, and I was never offered any. I work as a CNA now and my tuition comes out of my income.
Programs Aim to Retrain Autoworkers as Nurses - NurseZone
How to Get a Grant for LPN-to-RN Programs Through WIA | eHow.com6Jul 18, '12 by jadelpn GuideIn a number of states, people who are on public assistance/unemployment have to find a job within a certain period of time or lose their benefits. There are a few things to choose from, and the government pays for one to go to school to get a job and off of public assistance/unemployment. Which is a good deal if you can get it. So displaced workers on unemployment and/or public assistance can't find a job, make use of the funds available to go to school to do something else, have their childcare paid for......I am all for people wanting to better themselves. It is beyond heartbreaking to have a situation where someone loses their job and they have mouths to feed. However, I am a nurse because I want to be. Would I like to further my education? Absolutely. But it is expensive, and unaffordable for some. The wait lists are long for those who are wanting to pursue more education. However the fast track from public assistance/unemployment to a nursing career seems amazingly easy for those who can work the system to their advantage. It is a matter of "we have nail tech, CNA, nursing, food services, early childhood education..." and someone is put in the position of "pick one". Amazingly, it is not unheard of for one to go to school, still not be able to find a job, and go back to school for something else.....on the government's dime.5Jul 18, '12 by arte_suaveAt the community college I go to we have a ton of displaced workers going for lots of different things, not just nursing. The crash hurt a lot of people. Nursing is not the only profession affected. Have you taken a look at what's happening to law schools? They are getting sued by the very students they taught because of hollow income promises and few job opportunities.7Jul 18, '12 by animal1953I am a displaced worker (shipping,receiving/warehousing) that benefited from a program to retrain as a nurse. I just passed my state boards for my CNA and am starting the long slog of looking for a position. I deceided to become a nurse after taking care of my wife post stroke (ischemic stroke, hemmorragic stroke, tia's, swallow problems) recovery. It has been ten years during this journey through her recovery that gave me many aquired skills in basic nursing. I was encouraged by visiting nurses and doctors to persue this line of work. On my side, I have asthma (since 6 months of age) and battle high blood pressure. As you can see, I have a general well rounded experience in the medical care field. Tying all these skills together just seemed to be a natural course for me, one I have embraced and am excited to jump into.
4Jul 18, '12 by BrandonLPNI went to one of those ungodly expensive trade schools for my LPN. As I was unemployed, laid off from construction, the Michigan Works program paid for over 75% of my $27,000 tuition. I NEVER would have went to such a school without the massive financial assistance.0Jul 18, '12 by emcadamsI guess it depends on the state. I looked at the Employ Florida site, and they don't seem to have much beyond "These are schools that offer education programs", but it looks like you can go into a one-stop center and fill out applications for grant money. Good to know. Little late for me, but glad to see opportunity for others.