January 31, 2001
CONTACT:Sonja Popp-Stahly

Hetrick Communications
317.262.8080, ext. 208

National Health Care Coalition Releases Student Focus Group Results

First Step in Advertising Campaign to Fight Nursing Shortage

Indianapolis – Children who have an extraordinary experience with the health care profession – a sudden family illness, accident or emergency room visit – generally have a strong desire to enter the profession, according to a new focus group study by a national health care coalition.

Interviews with more than 1,800 school children across the nation revealed that most kids have a positive view of doctors and believe that “wanting to help others” is a primary reason to enter the health care field. However, older children worry about the financial stability of the health care system and children of all ages still view nursing “as a girl’s job.”

The study was commissioned by Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow, a coalition of 24 of the nation’s leading nursing and health care organizations. Rather than wait until the problem is severe and patients are at risk, Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow is working now to heighten awareness about the looming nursing shortage and the excellent opportunities that await those who seek a career in nursing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for registered nurses will grow more rapidly than those of all other occupations through 2008. Despite this accelerated demand, nursing school enrollments have declined for five consecutive years, in the midst of an accelerating shortage of nurses in the U.S.

The study, conducted by JWT Specialized Communications, a marketing and employment communications agency, was based on interviews with children from grades 2-10 in 10 U.S. cities. Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow will use results of the study to develop a national campaign designed to boost the attractiveness of nursing as a profession.

According to the study, most children interested in the health care profession wanted to become a doctor, but they cited reasons that also apply to the nursing field. These reasons included a desire to “do good,” assist with research on a disease, “wanting to solve people’s problems,” or wanting to re-pay a positive extraordinary experience. Older students viewed being a doctor as a profession, while nursing was viewed as a technical field.

Children surveyed viewed nursing as an important supportive position in the health care field, but were unsure of a nurse’s education level, responsibilities and opportunities for career advancement. Children’s strongest visualization of the medical field came from television medical dramas, such as “ER.”

For more information, see the full six-page report on the JWT focus group studies.

Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow can be found on the Internet at

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