Nursing is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. For nurses in the Seattle area, local degree programs give candidates a competitive edge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for registered nurses (RN) will increase by 26 percent by 2020, with similar increases anticipated for licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN). Currently, there are more than 2.7 million nurses in practice nationwide. With competition growing in Seattle and beyond, nursing degrees provide job candidates with both practical training and a competitive edge.
After working for 26 years as a labor and delivery surgical tech, Deidre Dalisky wanted to move forward in her career. Dalisky enrolled in Bellevue College’s associates of nursing program. In 2005, she graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing, which made her eligible to take her state boards to become an RN.
“I began my nursing career as a labor and delivery surgical tech at Swedish Hospital in 1979,” Dalisky explained. “I started working the night shift when my first son was 10 months old.”
After raising four sons, Dalisky was ready to become an RN.
“I received my certification in my specialty, and now I’m a staff nurse in labor and delivery,” she stated.
“The program provided a lot of nursing theory paired with visiting clinical sites. I learned a lot. I couldn’t have become a staff RN without going to school.”
Continuing education is also an important part of Dalisky’s career as a nurse.
“I have to complete 45 hours of obstetrics-related continuing education for my obstetrics certification every year. The state of Washington doesn’t have continuing education requirements at this time, but it plans to have them in place by 2015. I can do a lot of my continuing education online and I’m reimbursed by my employer.”
In addition to her role at Swedish Hospital, Dalisky also works one day per week at Northwest Women’s Health Care located near Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
“I have a really interesting position there. It’s an OB/GYN office. I get to do my patients’ original OB intake and then I help them all the way through the process. Physically, it’s a very hard job, but it’s also very rewarding.”
Dalisky encourages potential students to follow a similar educational path.
“If you’re thinking about heading to school – or heading back to school – you should go for it. Being an RN is the kind of job that you can take anywhere in the country. It’s difficult to get into nursing school, but it’s very much worth it because it’s great to have a job where you’re happy to go there in the morning. I just love my job.”
Dalisky added, “To be a part of someone’s most special day of their life is really rewarding.”
Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.