SPOKANE, Wash. — As the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/Washington State University College of Nursing prepares to send more than 90 highly skilled graduating nurses into the professional work force, 30 health care agencies, hospitals and employers in Washington and surrounding states are awaiting the opportunity to recruit them first.

They’ll have their chance 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Nov. 7, during the college’s semi-annual career fair held on the Spokane campus, 2917 W. Fort George Wright Dr. Representatives from hospitals, nursing homes, home health care providers and Armed Forces from Washington, Oregon and Alaska are expected to attend the event.

In the midst of this stifling job market, the nursing shortage remains pervasive, nursing educators say. Many professionals are returning to college to seek second careers in nursing and other health sciences where shortages are expected to continue for several more years.

To increase the pool of graduates, student organizers have again extended an invitation to associate-degree nursing students from Spokane Community College and North Idaho College. Student event organizers have worked to tailor the event to graduates by surveying seniors regarding specific health care agency and destination interests.

“We wanted this Career Fair to be targeted and effective for both students and agencies,” said Rachel Hoit, event coordinator and senior class secretary/treasurer. “By inviting agencies our graduates are most interested in, students can fully explore employment, specialty areas and geographic preference opportunities that may not be available at any other time.”

The College of Nursing continues to achieve a 100 percent placement rate with many students receiving multiple professional offers upon graduation. The ever-growing nursing shortage has given rise to enticing incentives for nursing grads such as tuition and relocation reimbursement, signing bonuses and other professional incentives. This semester’s graduating class includes baccalaureate students from WSU College of Nursing campuses including Spokane, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Walla Walla.

Established in 1968, the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing is the nation’s first, oldest and most comprehensive nursing education consortium. The College of Nursing 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 state educational institution. For more information about the WSU College of Nursing visit the Web site at www.nursing.wsu.edu.