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One Choice, a Thousand Opportunities
Making a difference

There’s been much written about the nursing shortage in California and how the demand for nurses continues to grow. Based on a study by the UCSF Center for California Health Workforce studies, an estimated 43,000 nurses will be needed by 2010, and an additional 74,000 by 2020 in order to maintain a stable ratio of RNs to California’s increasing population. That’s an alarming number. As RNs you should be asking, “What can I do to help?”

CNCC urges you to join the ever growing number of RN Ambassadors who are getting out into the community and promoting nursing as a career choice by reaching youth—our future nurses. Additionally, why not bring in another nurse before you retire. After all, who is going to take care of you when you need it?

By talking to youth about why you chose nursing as a career, your pride as a nurse, and the many opportunities that nursing has to offer, you are a RN ambassador.

CNCC provides free downloadable PowerPoint presentation tools in English and Spanish on the cncc.org website that are age specific targeting elementary, middle school and high school students. Also, sharing your own nursing experiences with students is invaluable giving them insight and a better understanding of what the nursing profession is all about.

To learn more about the RN Ambassador program, please visit the cncc.org website or call Madeleine Reed at (510) 625-7141.

Read what RN Ambassadors are saying about the program:

Ginger Manss

“I 'fell into’ being an ambassador for nursing by having my kids’ high school call me to talk at a Windows to Your Future program at Lincoln High School in Stockton. It is a program focusing on career development (for all careers, not just health care) and includes mock interviews, resume writing, and presentations by different professionals. I utilized the CNCC website to download a PowerPoint presentation and spoke to three classes of juniors and seniors. That first class was the smallest, but the most attentive. I told them stories about being a nurse and several of them asked questions about doing code blues and what I like about being a nurse. At the end of the morning, I felt I had accomplished a lot and planted a seed in many of the kids’ hearts about the possibility of nursing as a career.

I feel that we as nurses need to tell our stories and share the positive aspects of our profession and the vast array of career possibilities that are available in nursing.”

Ginger has been a RN for 23 years and is the Director of Cancer Services and Medical Telemetry at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, California.

--Ginger Manss, RN, MSN, AOCN

Candace Hilvers

"We have a duty to recruit new nurses. The materials are very appropriate for many events. The program is user friendly. Minimal preparation is needed before a health fair or career event. The materials have great appeal for young people. Thank you for making these materials available.

My position provides multiple opportunities for contact with young people. The program staff takes every opportunity to promote our profession and to offer encouragement to students.”

Candace has been a RN for 33 years and is the Program Manager at Tulare County, Office of Education, School Health Programs.

--Candace Hilvers, MSN, PNP

Neil Christopher Apeles

"I became a Nurse Ambassador to promote the nursing profession. In times when healthcare is changing and nurses are trying to adapt to those changes, it is important that we reach out to future nurses and keep them informed about nursing as a profession and the benefits it has to offer.

As a Nurse Ambassador I am able to share with many young people the countless "possibilities in nursing.” Every time I speak with students I am rewarded with the mere thought that some of those people listening to me might become a nurse someday simply because of something I said. The ultimate reward came when I was told that a student that I had spoken to was now in nursing school and will be graduating in a year. These are the moments that I feel proud to be a Nurse Ambassador. I strongly support the program because I’ve seen the impact that the program can have on young students’ futures—I am happy to be part of it and hope that many more will join us.”

Neil has been a RN for the past three years and is the Director of Education, Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, California.

--Neil Christopher Apeles, RN, MSN, PHN

Gay Gale

"Like many students, I graduated from college with no clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. In high school I had been a volunteer, "Junior Pink Lady” at our local hospital and came away from that experience pretty sure I did not want to be a nurse.

After college I volunteered at a women's clinic. The nurse practitioners (NP) who worked there were an inspiration. Their clinical expertise and psychosocial skills had a profound impact on many patients. The NPs were open with me about the pros and cons of nursing as a career and supportive of my interest. I went back to school and received my BSN from California State University, East Bay in 1978. I found my niche in nursing working with sick babies and their families.

Over the years I have met nurses from many different paths of life. As the diversity of people, patients, and opportunities increase, nursing is becoming an increasingly desirable career choice. Unfortunately, the competition to get into nursing school is so fierce in California right now students have to have a high GPA to get in. This is a shame. In my experience, you do not need a high GPA to be a competent, conscientious, and compassionate nurse. It is important to talk about this.

Several times a year I speak to middle school and high school students about careers in nursing. I incorporate the teaching materials CNCC has designed for the different age levels. The power point presentations are easy to use and the kids love the goodies CNCC provides to promote careers in nursing. Both the CNCC website and the staff are incredibly helpful.

Many people still think of nurses as women who wear white uniforms and whose main jobs are to give shots and empty bedpans. Many students have no idea of the role differences between doctors and nurse or of the variety of roles available to nurses. If you like being a nurse, speak up! Share your experience and wisdom with those who will follow us. CNCC is a great place to start.”

Gay has been practicing for 25 years and is currently a staff nurse III in NICU at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. She is also nurse clinician at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland.

--Gay Gale, RNC, MS

Release Date: May 3, 2006

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