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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
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Critical Care

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Winter 2002
Critical Care

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“There will have to be a big investment, but it is absolutely a necessary investment, in redeveloping the educational infrastructure for nurses in California,” contends Karpf. “There aren’t nearly enough nursing slots, and I’m not sure everyone understands the gravity of the situation.”

PETER ANDERSON ’99, M.S.N. ’01 gave up a successful career as vice president in the home-video division at Metro Goldwyn Mayer to become a nurse. “I was disillusioned with business, going through a midlife crisis, and I thought nursing would be a good profession to be of service to others,” he explains. Anderson hasn’t looked back. “I’m seeing people at a point where they require someone to help them do something they can’t do for themselves,” he says. “There’s great honor in providing that kind of assistance.”

“It’s tremendously fulfilling,” says Cowan, who started her career 41 years ago as a bedside nurse. “It’s a type of satisfaction from your job that you don’t get in most professions.” Others point to the many different types of job descriptions, settings and specialties within nursing; the opportunities for professional growth through continuing education; the scheduling flexibility; and the ability to find work anywhere in the country.

Nonetheless, there is concern that nursing continues to be an undervalued profession — and that the admiration of patients and other health-care providers, along with the attractions inherent to the nursing field, won’t be enough to avert a deepening crisis. “The system couldn’t function without them, and yet we don’t always act as if that’s the case,” says Rosenstock. “If we had an equal shortage of physicians, society would be up in arms.”

“Nursing is a very tough job, very demanding emotionally and intellectually, and very satisfying when it’s done well,” says Karpf. “Many nurses feel overwhelmed and underappreciated. I understand the overwhelmed. It is the underappreciation that we must fix.”

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