Nursing's Path of 100-Plus Years

Class photo of nurses in white from 1956

The field of nursing is constantly evolving to meet the interests of nurses and the challenges of the times, making it a lucrative and secure career path. This is especially true for a city like Cleveland where healthcare has grown to be one of the city’s core industries.

While the problem of attracting and retaining nurses looms as large as ever, those called to nursing forge ahead, paving the way for others to follow. Meanwhile, the industry is finding creative new ways to fill the shortages.

The modern nursing profession looks a lot different than it did a century ago. Gone are the days when hospital nurses in starched aprons were relegated to bandage changes, laundry, housekeeping and meal preparation.

Nurses today are highly trained clinicians, and they have more career opportunities than ever before - both at the bedside and beyond. Nurse practitioners with master’s degrees have taken over patient care once managed by physicians, prescribing medications and diagnosing patients. Doctorate-level nurses conduct medical research, and there are specialty nurses at all levels in almost every field of medical care.

Among other things, nurses are executives, educators, risk managers and healthcare technology experts. And for those not already familiar with the field, some of the jobs available to nursing graduates may come as a surprise.

“I have nurses in every department here, even ones you didn’t know existed” said Melissa Kline, chief nurse executive at MetroHealth. “There’s a lot of different things you can do as a nurse.”

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