On the evening of Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at the Minnesota School of Business (MSB)-Richfield campus, students, staff and community members packed a classroom to listen to four nurses discuss the profession of nursing. May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and to celebrate, the campus hosted a panel discussion about nursing and possible career opportunities. The panel consisted of Elizabeth Riley, MSB Dean of Nursing, Tanya Velishek, MSB nursing instructor and academic clinical placement coordinator for Fairview Health Services, Dr. Sharon Stanke, MSB nursing instructor educator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and Jane Goebel, nurse administrator at St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center.
Campus Director Stacy Severson kicked off the discussion by asking the women why someone might want to get into the field of nursing.
“Nursing is a career that you can take with you – it’s a passion,” says Velishek. “You can always grow within nursing.”
“There is a huge demand for nurses, and it’s a dependable job,” says Goebel. “You not only get a financial paycheck, but you get an emotional paycheck.”
Severson then asked which characteristics are needed to succeed as a nurse. The panelists agreed that critical thinking skills, enthusiasm, commitment and advocacy were essential, among others.
“There is a great deal of variety in nursing. No matter which area you choose to spend your career, compassion is instrumental,” says Riley. “Imagination plays a huge role too.”
“Innovation, leadership and teamwork,” Velishek adds.
“Nursing is defined as both an art and a science,” says Goebel. “A lot of nurses are attracted to the science aspect but the art – the relationship part is what keeps us doing what we do.”
There is a misconception that all nurses work in hospitals, and that all nurses work with babies and children. But, as the experts mentioned, there are a variety of positions nurses can hold. Velishek talked about travelling nurses and the benefits of working in global health.
“When you’re working in third-world countries, you see those diseases first hand that you’ve learned about but we don’t see here,” she says. “They don’t have the same resources we have here, so you really learn to use your intuition when caring for the patients.”
Goebel talked about the need for nurses to work in long-term care. “Seniors are the biggest users of healthcare, and as that population increases, the demand for nurses will increase, and people will stay in the healthcare profession longer to help alleviate that demand.”
Riley mentioned that nurses who are willing to work in rural healthcare will gain much more experience than if working in an urban setting.
“Because there are a lack of nurses working in rural areas, you need a broad spectrum of knowledge in a variety of areas,” says Stanke. “There are limited resources, and you may have to make decisions on your own without the help of a doctor.”
The panelists then discussed how the field is changing. One major aspect of change and innovation in the nursing career is the increased use of technology.
“It’s impossible to keep up with the technology because it’s always changing,” says Stanke. “Nurses need to maintain competencies and be able to access and share information with each other.”
Stanke also mentioned that MSB is a leader in nursing technology, with simulation being integrated into the curriculum. Stanke says MSB nursing students also have an advantage because they are enrolled in a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, versus earning a two-year degree, and the industry is moving toward a BSN standard for all nurses.
“In my opinion, being BSN-prepared gives students a benefit for employment,” says Velishek. “Employers are looking for the theory to go along with the skills learned.”
Finally, Severson asked the panelists to give one piece of advice to students or anyone who may be entering the nursing profession. Riley advises keeping an open mind to lifelong learning, and Velishek stresses taking every opportunity you’re given.
“Listen to yourself. You will be your own best guide,” says Goebel. “If you don’t love what you do, you’re selling yourself short. Find what fits for you and give it all you got.”
All the experts agreed that nursing is a passion and a very rewarding career path.
“Nurses are uniquely positioned to save the world,” says Riley. “But it won’t happen unless we help each other. Together, nurses can do anything.”
Visit the Minnesota School of Business nursing program page to learn more.