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Letter to the Editor on ""The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?"

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March 28, 2001

in response by Bell to topic The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different? (Jan. 31, 2001)

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the topic of the Nursing Shortage. One consideration that I have not yet heard addressed is the format of nursing education. Perhaps it is time to consider the new educational model some of our physician colleagues are adopting, and determine if the nursing education model needs to be changed.

My son is a first year medical student at the University of Rochester in New York, and within weeks of entering medical school he was interacting with patients. The model being introduced in Rochester, although more "robust" than the hospital "training" school model for nurses in the olden days, is similar to the older nursing education model in that it offers contact with patients and exposure to the health care delivery system almost from day one. I believe this early introduction to the health care delivery system offers a beneficial opportunity to bond with fellow professionals from the start. Learning the theoretical basis for our practice is certainly important; but it is also important to be in the "trenches", learning first hand what nursing is all about. What a great learning and motivational opportunity it would be for college freshmen to see a nurse in practice from the beginning of their professional education.

Karen Bell, RN, MBA
Director of Hospice and Palliative
Portland, Oregon