2002-07-06 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Critical Professional Shortage:
Pharmacy, Nursing And Teaching
By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey
Chatting With Chapey By Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey Critical Professional Shortage: Pharmacy, Nursing And Teaching

Critical Professional Shortage:
Pharmacy, Nursing And Teaching

  Pharmacy is a profession that is undergoing dramatic change. Shortages of pharmacists have been reported across the country as well as in New York State. The shortage is due to several factors: the rapidly rising increase in the number of prescriptions being written, the creation and promise of many new wonder drugs, the growing aging population, the expanding number of persons identified as disabled and requiring prescriptions, better insurance coverage and heightened consumer demand.

Interesting demographic characteristics of pharmacists reflect the following: 40 percent of pharmacists are female; 76 percent of all pharmacists registered in New York State are native-born U.S. citizens; 80 percent of registered pharmacists in NYS were educated in a College of Pharmacy located within New York State; 77 percent of registered pharmacists in NYS earned a 5 year BS in Pharmacy and about 31 percent hold an advanced degree; 43 percent report that State counseling regulations increased communication with consumers.

Pharmacists have diverse career options, multiple job offers at graduation and excellent earning potential.  Professional journals that list career opportunities attempt to attract candidates by advertising sign-on bonuses, tuition loan repayment and/or relocation reimbursement for pharmacists.

In addition, the nursing profession is facing severe under staffing. Nursing, the largest of the licensed professions in New York State, has a serious acute shortage predicted.  This, of course, will impact the quality of nursing care and the safety of the health care system in general. An aggressive outreach to the public about nursing opportunities is being made through workshops, institutes, mailings, publications and ads. Seventeen thousand additional registered nurses will be needed in New York State by 2005.

The teaching shortage in NYS is also critical. It will become more so by the year 2003 when all teachers must meet the new certification requirements established by the Board of Regents to insure that qualified teachers will be available for every child. Shortages are most acute in mathematics and science. Thousands of teachers are now serving without certification qualifications. Twenty three thousand additional certified teachers will be needed in NYS by 2003.

For information on obtaining a professional license in nursing, pharmacy and 37 other health, business and design professions, contact the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions, 518-474-3817 or www.op.nysed.gov. The Board of Regents recently conducted (as I mentioned in last weeks column) a survey of professional work shortages.  Changing trends, market forces and technological advancement all have an impact on the service professionals provide and the training such professionals require.  Results of the survey undertaken in collaboration with associations, legislators, educators, government leaders, consumers, and practitioners indicated that major shortages are emerging in what are now called the "Hot Careers" - pharmacy, nursing and teaching.

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