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Carry on

Kelly Willenberg ( is President and CEO of Kelly Willenberg LLC in Greenville, SC.

I renewed my nursing license recently. I considered my start as a brand-new nurse, eventually doing research for pediatric oncology, which set the stage for my career. When my license comes up for renewal in 2024, I will have been a nurse for 40 years. The field has changed drastically during those four decades.

I asked a number of nurses how they felt about their career. Natalie D’itri, MSN, RN, AOCN, of Arlington, Virginia, replied with, “Healthcare must change!” Her reply is not surprising given the current transformation of healthcare. Staffing shortages are having a major impact on research. Shaundi Davis, RN, OCN, of Rockford, Illinois, said: “I love my career as a chemo infusion nurse but hate the politics, and am blessed to be supported by my immediate bosses but sometimes feel unsupported as we are always fighting for adequate staffing ratios.” According to the American Nurses Association, this year, “there will be far more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession, at more than 100,000 per year. With more than 500,000 seasoned RNs [registered nurses] anticipated to retire by 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 1.1 million new RNs for expansion and replacement of retirees, and to avoid a nursing shortage.”[1] Jessica Dove, RN, BSN, OCN, of Columbus, Ohio, replied that she is needed, valued, and seen as an expert resource. Others questioned their role in research as it has changed in their eyes. Julie Hamilton, MSN, RN, OCN, NPD-BC, of Greenville, South Carolina, expressed her concern for new nurses as they do not receive the type of support that she did 16 years ago. How do we mentor and keep nurses involved in research? Lucy Gansauer, RN, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, answered that with, “Even though I am retired, I have so many opportunities before me. I am participating in National Committees for cancer research and serve on a bio safety committee.” As leaders in research, we need to cultivate our nursing community to stay involved as partners!

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