LCC health educators predict more jobs soon for nurses

EUGENE, Ore. -- All through the Great Recession, it was a tight job market for new nurses in Oregon looking for work.

Now, state employment forecasts show that's about to change, and a Eugene college hopes it can get more future nurses ready to work.

Like the slow drip from an IV bag, it's been a slow-go for many Oregon nursing graduates.

New jobs in some sectors have been hard to find.

Nursing educators at Lane Community College say that's about to change.

Students in the new Licensed Practical Nurse program at LCC hope to be part of that change.

The program allows students to clear that first big hurdle in one year; getting their LPN certificate. "Eventually I'd like to go on to get my RN degree and become a wound care/Ostomy nurse," says student Diana Ambroson.

One stepping stone at a time she's moving closer to her goal.

Ambroson is already checking out the job market, and says, "I've seen a few openings in long term care facilities to do, you know, either the acute side of that or the long term care side."

The Oregon Employment Service is predicting the job growth rate for LPN positions in Lane County will beat that of the state, going out to 2020.

Educators say as more nurses retire and more aging baby boomers need care, more jobs will open up. "My prediction is, that we're going to see a pretty significant growth in demand for nurses in the next 2 to 5 years," explains Dr. Sheryl Berman, Health Professions Dean at the LCC campus.

Ambroson sums it up by saying, "It's a pretty exciting time to be a nurse because we'll have a lot more opportunities for employment."

A 2011 report from the Oregon Center for Nursing predicts that 1/4 of Oregon nurses will be retiring in 8 to 10 years.

Meanwhile, Lane is accepting applications now for its Winter 2013 term.