BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) - At some point in our lives, we cross paths with nurses, as they help us through the world of health care. Nurse Krista McKean can thank a nurse she met as a teenager for guiding her on her career path.
"When I was 13 years old, I was hospitalized with a major surgery, and when I woke up in the operating room, a nurse was there, and she was very bubbly and telling me how beautiful I was and how I was doing great," said McKean. "It just made a painful and anxious situation very bearable. And she really uplifted me and I just wanted to be that person that can do that."
To make that dream happen, McKean went to Massanutten Technical Center for the licensed practical nurse, or LPN, program. She is now a clinical coordinator at Bridgewater Retirement Community.
"Every day I come into work, it is a home environment. It's not an institution; it's not a facility. I'm actually coming into a home. I eat lunch with my residents every day, which is not something that other nurses could probably say that they do," McKean said. "So that's the most rewarding part of my job is that coming into work every day is not like ordinary work and I love to help people."
According to economic statistics from the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, the salary range for an LPN ranges from $37,000 to $52,000. There's a projected need for 641 LPNs over the next decade in our region. The positions typically require a post-secondary certificate or an associate degree.
"I think there's an overall nursing shortage. In the United States, the life expectancy is ... climbing higher. More people are continuing to grow older. There's going to be a growing geriatric population," McKean said. "So the need for nurses is continuing to grow."