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I was thrilled yesterday (5/30/11) to find an article titled “Jobs in Health Care on the Rise” in the Business section of the  Chicago Tribune

In a discussion of the need for more doctors, Christopher J. Gearon notes that more of their jobs are being held by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who also are in short supply.  He adds, “The shortages are exacerbated by a lack of training slots, particularly notable in nursing schools, to meet rising demand, and too few professionals with advanced degrees to do the teaching” (pp. 21-22).

A shortage of faculty in nursing schools.  My point exactly.

In my year-long search (2009) for a literary agent to represent my career memoir, Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self, my query letter contained variations of this theme:  “…I’m concerned about projections that the shortage of registered nurses (RNs) could reach a half million by 2025. There is already a shortage of RNs and of nursing faculty. Qualified nursing school applicants are being turned away.” And, to emphasize the need for a book such as mine, I’d add that in a market where there are few nursing memoirs, my book is the only one I know of that is written by a nurse educator.

There were a few agents who took the time to write me a personal response that they liked my writing, but didn’t see that they could “successfully interest a publisher.”  Apparently, I did not do a good enough sell job about the need for such a book. I should have had Gearon’s help!

I hope literary agents are reading articles like this one in the Trib. My dream is that they and publishers would be clamoring for more memoirs by nurses.  Memoirs that could dispel stereotypes of our profession, that would show that we are a thinking as well as a doing and feeling profession, that would interest readers to think about becoming a nurse. Or a teacher of nursing.

I also hope that reading Caring Lessons (Deep River Books, 2010), the story of my career from nurse’s aide to professor emerita, from a diploma in nursing to a PhD in nursing science, may nudge a few readers into those halls of ivy!

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