Many industries are tightening their belts by downsizing - and it seems that no job is immune. Even the Glen Rose City Council considered a hiring freeze during the last council meeting.

Is there really such a thing as a recession-proof career?

Loretta Hise, medical and surgical director at Glen Rose Medical Center, said yes - and no.

“If people are sick and they need care, they’re going to come to the hospital,” Hise said. “But if something is optional, then they may put that off.”

Hise said “optional” could be something as serious as knee surgery. Patients know they would be better off having the surgery, but simply cannot afford co-pays. Instead, they opt to cope with the pain.

Hise said even with people putting off procedures or services, GRMC is still a bustling hospital.

“Most of the time, we stay pretty busy,” Hise said.

The nursing population is still dominated by women and many young women are choosing less stressful career paths.

Hise, who earned an accounting degree before returning to school to become a nurse, said nursing is harder and more stressful.

“In accounting, if you make a mistake, you can fix it,” Hise said. “(In nursing) there’s a whole lot more at stake if you care about your job, but it is an extremely rewarding profession.”

Hise said there is a nursing shortage and that a lot of older nurses are retiring, while younger women have more options that are just as lucrative but less stressful.

Finding talented nurses to fill vacancies presents unique challenges.

“I look at lots of applications to find good qualified people and it’s hard,” Hise said. “The smartest people in the class don’t always make the best nurses. Some people are just very intuitive and in touch with patients, but they freeze when they see that test.”

She asks herself if each applicant would pass the Mawmaw test.

“Is this someone I want taking care of my mother?” Hise said.

And whether a young student is just starting to make decisions about their future or someone is deciding a new career path, Hise said starting out at a younger age is helpful, but not necessary.

Residents in the Somervell County area have unique educational opportunities.

In addition to certification opportunities for Glen Rose High School students, Hill College issued a press release announcing a new program for professionals already working in the field.

Hill College is now offering a Paramedic to ADN (associate degree in nursing) option within the existing LVN (licensed vocational nurse) to ADN transition program to offer graduates of its paramedic program, as well as paramedics in the service area, the upward mobility option of becoming an ADN.

“With this new program, Hill College is responding to the incredible need of health care workers in our area. In the Heart of Texas region alone, 53 percent of the top 21 (2008-09) job openings are in health sciences and require a certificate or associate degree. That is well over 2,000 jobs just for that region. Clearly, someone needs to be training people to fill these positions, and Hill College has positioned itself to do so for all the regions it serves,” said Dr. Joel Michaelis, Hill College vice president of instruction.

The planned implementation date for the Paramedic to ADN program is May 2009. To enter the program, students need to submit transcripts showing completion of the pre-requisites, three references (on Hill College forms), immunizations, proof of license/certification, pre-entrance test scores from HESI Critical Thinking test, current AHA CPR, TSI status complete, Hill College application and the ADN application.

For more information, contact Lori Moseley at 817-760-5920 or e-mail lmoseley@hillcollege.edu.

Tarleton State University in Stephenville is also working to recruit and educate more nursing professionals.

The campus is working on a $24.3 million facility that will provide 75,000-square feet of classrooms and state of the art training technology.

“We need to prepare more nurses,” said Dr. Elaine Evans, Tarleton’s nursing director. “Texas nursing programs must graduate 25,000 new professional nurses per year by 2020 to meet the nursing workforce demands. Tarleton had 60 nursing graduates in 2008. We need to graduate a minimum of 120 per year by 2013. We will be able to double program enrollment from 200 to 400 students when the new nursing building is available, if we have adequate faculty positions.”

Visit www.tarleton.edu for more information and enrollment requirements for the Tarleton program.