Are you a young person looking for a career, one that is both satisfying and well-paid? If so, you should give more than a quick glance at nursing.
There are more nursing jobs than applicants, meaning jobs await, and salaries average about two and a half times the median wage in Robeson County, in the neighborhood of $65,000 a year. And what could be more satisfying than helping people deal with health challenges?
Our two local colleges — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Robeson Community College — are working together and rising to the challenges of getting students educated for those jobs, so the drive to class isn’t very far. Students can earn a two-year associates degree at Robeson Community College, or a bachelor’s degree in a four-year program at UNCP. Both colleges can boast that every single one of their recent graduates passed the state licensing exam, and we are told that all of those students did have to look long for work and a paycheck.
The news gets even better.
On Tuesday, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke cut the ribbon on its 87,000-square-foot Health Sciences Building. Former legislators David Weinstein and Ron Sutton deserve much of the credit for securing the $29 million in state money for the construction, with Weinstein calling that his crowning achievement during his time as a senator, and UNCP officials deserve the praise for their vision.
The new building will enable UNCP to double the size of its nursing program to 200 students while also adding a master’s program.
The building will accommodate seven clinical training centers, which simulate nursing environments, including an operating room, obstetrics, intensive care, pediatrics, psychiatry and home health. But most popular among the students will likely be the food court with a Papa John’s Pizza and Einstein’s Bagel restaurants.
Robeson County is aging, and with that demographic comes a demand for better health care, which explains why Southeastern Regional Medical Center during the past decade has expanded beyond the Tanglewood community to find room for all the providers this county demands.
There is a shortage of nurses, and that demand isn’t likely to be satisfied anytime soon. So go for it, should you be so inclined.