Saddleback College’s nursing program is rated one of the best in the state. Program director Tammy Rice says with the Affordable Care Act, and priority given to preventative care, there will be a need for more nurses (123rf/stock photo)
Nurses who graduate with an associate degree could land an entry-level job starting at $70,000- $75,000 per year.
That’s the statistic given during an informational meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, about Saddleback College’s nursing program by Tammy Rice.
Rice is the assistant dean of health sciences and human services and director of the college’s nursing program.
“Borrowing money for your associate in nursing is worth it because you’ll be able to pay it all back quickly,” Rice said.
Saddleback has the top ranked community college nursing program in the state of California, and one of the most highly-regarded in the nation according to Saddleback’s nursing program’s website. The program also holds the bragging rights for being ranked No. 1 in the nation in licensure exam rates for associate and bachelor degree programs.
“At Saddleback’s nursing program, we have about a 98 percent pass rate for the nursing exam,” Rice said.
However, Rice also pointed out some foreseeable changes in the nursing field due to the recently enacted Affordable Care Act.
“There’s going to be the largest shortage of nurses ever within the next five years because of the Affordable Care Act,” Rice said.
Rice further explained that the reason for the shortage is not because the new healthcare law is bad for nursing, but rather changing it.
“Nursing is changing; it’s shifting more towards preventative care,” Rice said. “Before, people would go to the hospitals for everything. They’re trying to change that now.”
Rice clarified that most nurses will not have difficulty finding a job after they graduate.
“We still have a 75 percent to 80 percent hiring rate, it just might take a little longer,” Rice said.
At the end of the information session, Rice said that students shouldn’t aspire to become nurses for the money, but rather for the opportunity to serve others.
“If you want to be a nurse for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and you won’t last,” Rice said. “You should be doing it because you want to make a difference in someone’s life.”