1. Hader, Richard RN, CNA, CHE, CPHQ, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

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Over the past decade, we've worked with unprecedented vigilance to develop and implement innovative strategies to boost nursing's appeal as a career option. To improve nurses' working conditions, we've initiated progressive clinical recognition programs, unique care delivery models, enhanced salaries, continuing educational opportunities, flexible scheduling, shared governance, and partnerships with other healthcare providers. We need to maintain this momentum to alter students' long-standing negative perceptions of nursing, which may influence their career choice.

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We need to attract students to nursing at a young age-as early as elementary school. Children should be able to spend time in our practice settings to get an up-close view of the many roles we play in delivering healthcare. Provide tours, the opportunity to speak with staff, and age-appropriate activities to inspire children to consider nursing as a career.


The curriculum at the middle- and high-school levels often includes a community service component. Does your healthcare organization provide opportunities for students to meet these requirements through a teen volunteer program? If these programs are flexible and user-friendly, they entice more student participation, creating a wonderful opportunity to leverage positive perceptions of nursing through affirmative interactions with nurses. Invite your staff members to engage the volunteers by sharing compelling and optimistic stories about their caregiving experiences.


Parents, teachers, and guidance counselors remain pivotal to influencing college-bound students to enter the nursing profession. It's imperative that these key players are aware of the many career opportunities within nursing. If they don't realize what nursing offers, they can't share its strengths with students. Encourage them to highlight the need for nurses, impressive salaries, promotional opportunities, loan forgiveness programs, autonomous work environments, and the altruistic foundation of our profession.


It's incumbent upon our healthcare organizations to partner with civic groups in community-sponsored events that positively market nursing and the benefits of entering nursing. Witnessing nurses making a difference in the community will enhance our profession's image and validate its many contributions. Part of your hospital's philanthropic activities should focus on raising money to provide scholarships for nursing students with lacking financial resources. These types of incentives aim to increase nursing college enrollment, which will result in a highly motivated and educated nursing workforce.


Invite your staff members to act as mentors and role models to those interested in the health professions. By building a strong desire in students to enter the nursing workforce now, we're ensuring quality nursing care in the future.