NEWS
January 23, 2021

Dr. Fauci Says It's Nurses, Not Him, Who Are Inspiring The Next Generation

the fauci effect on nursing
Kathleen Gaines By: Kathleen Gaines

In November 2020, there were over 700,000 google searches on “how to become a nurse” and other related keywords. Now, more than ever, individuals want to become nurses. High school and college students are watching the pandemic unfold on TV and nurses are at the forefront of the fight. Most feel a need to help others, some are drawn to the fast-paced intensity of units such as the ICU and ER, and others see the job advertisements offering insanely high wages for crisis contracts. 

At times it is hard to remember life pre-pandemic, but the call to be a nurse is strong for many individuals. Starting the process of becoming a nurse can be overwhelming, even more so with the influx of applications.

Universities are reporting the highest number of applicants in years and are attributing it to the pandemic including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and lead member of the Coronavirus Task Force. 

We caught up with Dr. Fauci to discuss the phenomenon. Read on to find out why nursing is a stable, lucrative, and rewarding career to pursue in 2021 and beyond.

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This is What The Doctor Has To Say About “The Fauci Effect” 

The “Fauci Effect” has had a profound effect on the healthcare profession. Medical schools and nursing schools have seen applications increase since last year. For example, Metropolitan State University of Denver saw an 11% increase in applicants from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 for their nursing program. The University of Colorado College of Nursing saw a 4% increase during the pandemic, according to school officials. Medical schools have seen an even bigger increase. The UC Davis School of Medicine saw a 38% increase in medical school applications since the pandemic. 

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Nurse Alice Benjamin had the profound honor of speaking with Dr. Fauci on behalf of Nurse.Org and asked him about the so-called “Fauci Effect”. While humbled by the effect he has had on the nursing profession he attributes the rise in nursing school applications to those risking their lives, health, and safety every day working the frontline. Like so many, he is astounded by the extraordinary things nurses are doing shift to shift and finds the nursing professional inspirational in the fight of COVID. He simply believes that it has been dubbed the “Fauci Effect” because he is a visible physician and one that has become associated with the pandemic. 

Some call it the “Fauci Effect” while others merely refer to it as the “Pandemic Effect”. Regardless, the resurgence of interest in the nursing profession is very much welcome. 

Nurses Are in Demand (and it’s not slowing down)

For months, the news reported on the shortage of nurses in hotspots such as New York City but now the need is everywhere. Prior to the pandemic, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  lists “registered nurse” as one of the fastest-growing occupations in America with the number of registered nurses set to grow from 2.9 million to 3.4 million by 2026.

As baby boomers age, there will be a massive increase in the number of elderly people needing care as well as nurses set to retire. To meet demand, an additional 203,700 nurses will be needed each year over the next 10 years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The AACN reports even more drastic numbers than the BLS. According to the AACN, the RN workforce is expected to grow from 3 million in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2029, an increase of 221,900 or 7%. The Bureau also projects 175,900 openings for RNs each year through 2029 when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed in the U.S.

As the vaccine becomes more readily available across the country, prospective nursing students can only hope the pandemic will be long gone by the time they graduate but the number of sick and dying from other medical conditions remains steadfast. 

Nursing is a stable career with a lot of unique opportunities

Nurses are trustworthy, nurses are dependable, nurses are kind, forgiving, empathetic, and sympathetic. Nurses will forever be needed and always wanted. There will always be the sick and dying regardless of COVID. That will never change. This creates the perfect scenario for high school students looking for a rewarding and fulfilling career and those looking to change professions for job stability and security. 

Check out nurse.org’s nursing school resource page to learn all about the different nursing careers!

The nursing profession has a lot to offer those interested in pursuing a degree. Some of these include, 

  • Nursing shortage creates demand
  • Flexible schedule
  • Job opportunities
  • Professional opportunities
  • Steady employment 
  • Trusted and respected profession
  • High earning potential
  • A high degree of job satisfaction
  • Many fields of employment
  • Ability to become a travel nurse

If pay is a motivator, the average national salary for registered nurses in the U.S. is $73,300 per year. We asked over 955 nurses to anonymously share their salary, their answers might surprise you. 

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You can get paid to travel as a nurse

After gaining two years of bedside nursing experience, you have the opportunity to become a Travel Nurse which can be extremely lucrative. At the height of the pandemic, travel nurses were earning $10,000 per week in New York City. Granted these nurses were working 7 days a week but the money was there to be had. Now, as the entire country is grappling with not enough bedside nurses to support the patients and staff quarantines from exposure - crisis contracts are offering insane money for travel nurses to help fill the voids. These contracts are risky and should not be entered into lightly because they are more likely to be canceled at the last minute which can leave you jobless, but the reward for landing a coveted crisis contract is a lucrative paycheck. 

Nursing is a rewarding career 

Deciding to be a nurse is a very personal decision based on many factors. Despite the high earning potential, most individuals do not become nurses solely for the money. It is a calling. It is a desire to help heal patients both mind, body, and soul. Despite this calling, the money is really nice! 

Nursing is far from glamorous. It can be unpredictable and challenging but can be extremely rewarding. Nurse.org spoke to 30 of the top nurse leaders in the country to find out the best nurse career advice. Advice included, 

  • Support one another.
  • Stay true to your word and accountable to others.
  • Find the right progression. 
  • Don’t judge others and don’t gossip.  
  • Take care of yourself.  Exercise, eat a nutritionally sound diet, and get enough sleep.
  • Knowledge breeds curiosity which sets you up to continue to question and learn about your practice. 
  • Seek out a mentor, someone you admire that could help coach you as you progress in your career.
  • Be open-minded. 
  • Integrate your clinical practice, research, and teaching as much as possible. 
  • Say yes to opportunities that are presented to you.
  • Don’t be afraid of change, try different areas of nursing until you find your niche.

Watch More Episodes of Nursing Now

Nursing Now is a weekly live stream with Nurse Alice Benjamin - not only is it informative, but it is also inspiring. Get caught up on the previous episodes here. 

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