Working with Purpose: Pandemic Inspires Rising Interest in Nursing Throughout the U.S.

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Two Ohio nurses Ashley Bailey and Faith Burke tell their stories as thousands are career-shifting to answer the call to meaningful work 

One positive outcome of the pandemic is a growing interest in nursing, an industry that has been reporting critical shortages. 
At a time when the contribution of health care workers has taken center stage, many individuals have decided to make a change so they can make a difference.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, application for medical school has increased 18% over 2019 numbers. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports a 5.6% increase in the number of students enrolled in entry-level nursing programs in Fall 2020.  

Hondros College of Nursing is also seeing a rise in enrollment, with an increase of 45% compared to the previous year.  One of the new nursing students is Faith Burke. Burke had worked as a medical assistant for 14 years. As COVID-19 surges shed light on dangerous shortages in healthcare professionals, a call went out for nurses and doctors to travel to understaffed areas. Burke wanted to help, but lacked the training to answer the call. She decided to obtain her nursing degree and enrolled at Hondros College of Nursing.  

Carol Sullivan, Campus Dean at Hondros, notes that the desire to help others is a common refrain with new enrollees. Sullivan notes, “Our students want to make a difference. A career in nursing equips them to contribute to their communities.”  Unlike Burke, Ashley Bailey approached a career in health care from the outside.

She had worked in the restaurant industry, for over a decade. She loved the people-contact that it brought, but knew something was missing. She reflects, “I have always loved serving others and caring for others, but I needed to connect more. I needed to feel like I was making a bigger difference.” Bailey enrolled in nursing school at Hondros College of Nursing.

Bailey has found her new career deeply meaningful and hopes others won’t hesitate to follow their passion. She shares, “My advice to anyone wanting to switch careers is: DO IT. It may sound cliche, but it is honestly never too late to do what you want to do. It goes so quickly and the outcome is worth the commitment. If you’re unhappy or wanting to do something different and feel like nursing is the path for you, make the jump. I guarantee you it will be worth it.”