JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "With nursing, it's nice to know that they're going to get sick and you're going to help them get better," said Melissa Harrison.
Melissa Harrison is in ASU's accelerated nursing program. A program that will get her in and out of school sooner and working in a field with a high demand.
"I just picked a good time, I guess, to do nursing," said Harrison.
By the year 2018, more than half a million RN jobs are expected to have been created--that according to a 2009 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"There is a shortage of nurses and actually, it's only going to get worse," said Sue McLarry.
School of Nursing and Health Professions chair, Dr. Sue McLarry cites an aging nursing workforce, an aging population and, with health care reform, more people receiving health care as contributing factors to the shortage.
"Most schools of nursing increased their enrollments when the prediction for the nursing shortage occurred," said McLarry.
McLarry says that includes ASU. She says the increases started between 10 to 15 years ago. She adds health care jobs in general are forecasted to be plentiful.
"So that's why all of our programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions have more applicants than we can take,"said McLarry.
McLarry says the need is also there for nurses in advanced practice fields as well as nurse educators. She adds the state is trying to help meet those needs.
"One of the things that is happening in Arkansas, in particular, is that there are funds that are appropriated by the legislature those funds are available to help pay for schooling," said McLarry.
For nursing student Melissa Harrison, she says it's good to know a diverse group of jobs are waiting, she won't necessarily have to wait on the jobs.
"It's nice to know that if you apply for a job and you apply for three or four jobs, there's 3 or 4 jobs there as opposed to hoping one opens up," said Harrison.