I guarantee anyone reading this has, at some point in their lives, been helped by a nurse. Healthcare wouldn't be what it is today if we didn't have the women and men who help us when we're sick and unable to care for ourselves. Both my mom and sister are nurses. I don't know how they do it since I'm pretty skirmish around needles. However, as a career coach, I do listen closely to what they deal with on a daily basis at work. It scares me. Here's why...

We Already Have a Nursing Shortage, But It's About to Get Worse

Studies show nursing is one of the fastest growing professions, and is expected to continue through 2024. While they anticipate adding 439,300 nurses to the work force, more than 649,100 nurses will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, nursing schools don't have the resources to keep up with demand. Thus, we'll soon find staffing hospitals and retirement homes with qualified nurses beyond difficult. Imagine getting sick and nobody to care for you? That's a very real possibility. More importantly, here's why those numbers could get dramatically worse.

In a Good Economy, Nobody Wants the Hard Jobs

The other challenge we face in recruiting younger people to become nurses is the perception that being a nurse is thankless, emotional, and challenging. The hours aren't normal, the work can be intense, and while the pay is good it's not the same as someone who works a corporate gig. In good economic times, young people want the fun jobs i.e. working 9-5 with lots of benefits and stock options. We live in the Facebook generation who thinks work should be enjoyable - a/k/a not feel like work. Thus, finding individuals with the right personality and mindset to be a nurse gets tougher.

Compliments are Currency that Should Be Used More Frequently

Given their empathetic nature, one thing we could do more of is appreciate nurses (and, anyone else that does the hard jobs), in the form of compliments. Recognizing their talents and articulating our gratitude doesn't cost a dime. And yet, it means a lot to the person who has chosen to commit their career to help those in need. Working with the sick takes a special set of skills and great character. So, find the nurses in your life and thank them for their service. Hopefully, karma will reward you one day in the future when you need a nurse.