Want a secure, lucrative job? Well, helloooo, nurse!

Although I usually pack a book (or a couple of books) for my rides on the subway, I sometimes like to put the book down and take a peek at the other passengers and their books. While the tastes of my fellow riders tend toward romance novels, action adventure tomes, and "literary" fiction, a very large percentage are usually toting textbooks. When I used to ride the 2 line, which runs near Columbia University, Barnard, NYU, and a few other colleges, it seemed like everyone on the train was studying for one class or another.

While there are generally a couple of people working their way toward degrees in law, social work, business, and other professions, the vast majority of the students that I see on the train are trying to get into health care. I almost feel like the dozens of medical students should somehow compare schedules and meet together on the train to quiz each other and trade notes. Just by looking over their shoulders, I've been able to pick up a wealth of information about bones, veins, muscles, and how some people don't like having bald strangers looking over their shoulders. Someday, I'm sure that I'll be able to put that knowledge to use.

It's not hard to figure out why all these people are working on getting degrees in nursing. There is a nationwide nursing shortfall of between 8% and 10%, and that's only going to increase as a large proportion of current nurses retire over the next five to ten years. Nationally, the average age of nurses is 47, indicating that there is considerable room for promotion for anyone currently entering the profession!