SPOKANE, Wash. — Jobs are plentiful for the 88 graduate and undergraduate nursing students from the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/Washington State University College of Nursing who will soon enter the realm of professional nursing.

The College of Nursing fall semester class consists of 80 students receiving undergraduate bachelor’s degrees (BSN) and eight receiving master’s degrees. Those graduating Dec. 15 represent the 31st undergraduate class to complete its nursing studies at the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing.

A growing nursing shortage has placed nursing graduates in high demand. For the last several semesters, the Intercollegiate College of Nursing has achieved a 100 percent placement rate for its graduates.

“Health care providers continue to make offers to students prior to graduation and final examinations,” said Dorothy Detlor, dean of the College of Nursing. “The starting salaries continue to rise, and employers are offering more creative incentives to entice new graduates to accept open positions.”

The nursing shortage is expected to deepen as an aging population begins to need more advanced health care attention and as 40 percent of the nation’s nurses reach retirement age. Nursing professionals are in leadership positions, offering a powerful and trusted voice in health care and serving as integral and respected members of health care teams.

Today’s nurses are also learning to work with patients from diverse backgrounds. Career options range by interest, skill and specialty in hospital, home health, military, insurance and governmental settings.

As a member of state and national nursing delegations, Dean Detlor is more than optimistic about the role the 88 graduates will play in the health of our nation.

“As I watched the tragedy of Sept. 11 unfold, I could visualize the roles nurses were playing in direct management of injuries, support and care for the families of the injured, dying and dead, and follow-up care of patients and families,” Detlor said. “I thought about the learned ability of nurses to be present and involved, fulfilling their responsibilities despite difficult events taking place around them. Each of our graduates has the opportunity to touch multiple lives over the course of their careers—not many professions can promise such personal rewards.”

Established in 1968, the Intercollegiate College of Nursing is the nation’s first and most comprehensive nursing education consortium. The college offers baccalaureate, graduate and professional development course work to nursing students enrolled through its four consortium partners: Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, WSU and Whitworth College. Each year the college educates more than 600 graduate and upper-division undergraduate students and prepares more entry-level nurses than any other educational institution in the state.