ALBANY, N.Y. -- Young nurses are now taking over in hospitals as their baby-boomer co-workers retire.
According to a report in the journal “Health Affairs,” there has been a 62 percent increase in the number of younger registered nurses entering the workforce over the past decade.
The number of 20-something nurses had dropped steadily through the 1980s and 1990s, hitting a low in 2002. But according to a lead researcher, by 2009, there were 165,000 full-time nurses ages 23 to 26.
In recent years, there has been a national push for more nurses, with accelerated degrees and other programs aimed to attract both young nurses and those looking for a second career in their 30s.
Locally, the chair of the nursing department at Sage College says she has also seen quite the increase in students entering the field.
"We currently have about 450 students across our undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs and we've had an increase of 70 students over the last year and a half. I think students have discovered that nursing is a lifelong career, but you can have many jobs in nursing throughout your career," said Glenda B. Kelman, Sage College Nursing Department Chair.
Studies show that at least 900,000 of the nation's roughly three million nurses are older than 50 and on their way to retirement, creating plenty of openings for those young men and women pursuing a nursing career.