HEALTH & FITNESS
from page 43
in a Lutheran program.
"There's a lot of security and a lot
of variety in nursing," says Wormser,
who spent many years as an emer-
gency room nurse at Henry Ford West
Bloomfield Hospital and now works as
a consultant, teaching advanced life
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my nursing
career," Wormser said.
Debbie Bernstein also was the
only Jewish student in her nursing
class, graduating from Michigan State
University in 1977. "It wasn't pretty,"
the Farmington Hills resident says.
One instructor embarrassed her in
class when she asked to be excused
from an exam that was being given on
a Jewish High Holy Day. "I, of course,
flunked the makeup test, which she
made much harder," Bernstein says.
On the other hand, she has loved
her more than 30-year nursing career,
coupling it with a master's degree
in business. "I still enjoy my patient
care," she says, working part-time
as an emergency room nurse at HFH
West Bloomfield. Her other part-time
job is as chief operating officer of the
Livingston Physicians Organization.
"Most of the Jewish nurses I know
got advanced degrees," Bernstein
A National View Of Jewish Nursing
Modern American nursing has its roots
in Christian spirituality, so it's not sur-
prising that it hasn't attracted a lot of
Jewish participants in the past.
Christian theology in nursing educa-
tion was evident in the U.S. into the
1950s, according to an article by Susan
L. Mayer on "Nursing in the United
States," which is part of the online Jew-
ish Women's Archive, www.jwa.org .
Careful Jewish quotas on admittance
to nursing schools, which were mainly
run by hospitals, were maintained
— probably until the establishment of
the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943,
Mayer wrote. And in the days before
women's liberation, the decision to
enter nursing often meant choosing
between a career and marriage.
Moving nursing education into col-
leges and universities and removal of
quotas resulted in an increase in Jewish
nurses. Still, teaching remained the big
draw for Jewish women.
Nurse/author Evelyn Rose Benson's
survey of Jewish nurses in her book
As We See Ourselves: Jewish Women in
Nursing indicates that anti-Semitism in
the nursing profession and anti-nurs-
ing sentiment in the Jewish community
combined to keep the numbers down.
Even into the early 1980s, Ben-
Now, Hadassah is
son discovered that her non-Jew-
not only providing
ish colleagues believed "there are
a gathering place
no Jewish nurses" and the Jewish
for Jewish nurses,
nurses she contacted weren't
but actively recruit-
interested in being singled out.
ing Jewish women
However, in 1990, when she
Linda Belkin, who
into nursing. Utiliz-
contemplated writing her history
began the Metro
ing 140 Hadassah
of Jewish nursing, her attempts to
nurses across the
contact Jewish nurses received a
country, they've made
more positive response.
presentations to ap-
At the same time, Jewish
at work in the
nurses began to network through
mostly public school
Hadassah - The Women's Zion-
of gynecologist Dr.
students on the nurs-
ist Organization of America; and
Judith Brysk, M.D.
the Hadassah National Center for
"We are looking
Nurses Councils was formed.
for talented, caring bright men and
"It's the only professional association women, with an emphasis on Jewish
for Jewish nurses," says Linda Belkin,
women, since this has been a career
a Farmington Hills nurse who founded
that has been misunderstood and
the Detroit council in 1991. "We offer
stigmatized," says Beverly Goldsmith,
continuing education for nurses and
chair of Hadassah's National Center for
the community and we support our col- Nurses Council.
leagues in Israel." (Hadassah founded
"It's a way to match Jewish ethics
what became the Henrietta Szold
with your profession," Goldsmith says.
"Every day you can make a difference
School of Nursing in Israel in 1918.)
in the world."
"It's an active group," Belkin says of
the Detroit chapter, which counts 80
members and used National Nursing
To join or receive more information
about the Metro Detroit Jewish Nurses
Week, May 6-12, to raise funds for a
nursing project in Israel.
Council, call Hadassah, (248) 683-5030.
That includes Debra Luria, who was
in the MSU nursing class ahead of
Bernstein, but had a positive experi-
ence. Three Jewish nurses graduated
in her class out of about 100 students
and she found the faculty demanding
"At Michigan State University,
we take great pride in our diversity
and our efforts to be an inclusive
campus community," says current
College of Nursing Dean Mary Mundt.
"Integration of cultural competence is
one of the major concepts guiding our
"I identify first and foremost as a
nurse," says Luria, a West Bloomfield
resident, whose advanced degrees
include a master's to become a nurse
practitioner and a doctorate in clini-
cal psychology. She practices at the
Psychological Institutes of Michigan in
More Jewish Nurses
Bringing more young people into
nursing with an emphasis on Jewish
women is the goal of a new task force
set up by the Hadassah National
Center for Nurses Council (See related
story — this page, top).
"Our goal is to change the image of
May 27 • 2010
• There's definitely a nursing shortage
- and it's only going to get worse.
• The nation-wide nursing shortage is
expected to grow to 260,000 reg-
istered nurses by 2025, writes Dr.
Peter Buerhaus and co-authors in
the July/August 2009 issue of Health
Affairs policy journal.
• That's despite an easing of the short-
age due to the recession, the article
• Those conclusions apply to Michi-
gan, says Michigan's first Chief
Nurse Executive Jeanette Klemczak,
who was appointed to the position in
2004 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to
assure that the state has a continuous
supply of high quality nurses.
• "The Nursing Agenda for Michigan:
Action to Avert a Crisis (2005-2010),"
Klemczak says, made it easier for
out-of-state and foreign nurses to
practice in Michigan; increased the
size of nursing schools; steamlined
educational programs to accommo-
date those who already have college
degrees; saw hospitals increase
clinical placements and jumpstarted
nurses' advanced degree education
through stipends and tuition grants
because "lack of faculty is a key bar-
rier in expanding nursing education."
• "While there has been a slowdown
in the past 12 months, there are still
hospitals in need of nurses throughout
the Metro Detroit area and the state,"
Klemczak says. And although appli-
cants for nursing schools greatly ex-
ceed the number accepted, she sees
that as "about right" to assure that new
graduates can immediately find jobs.
• "We anticipate a continuing pressure
for more nurses and more nursing
faculty," the chief nurse says. "This
is due to the aging of our nurses
and the continued aging of the baby
boomers who will require even more
nursing care as time passes. The
introduction of heath care reform
will further increase the demand for
nurses as 35 million more Americans
• "We list several hundred open posi-
tions in Michigan right now," says
Anne Wilson, program coordinator
at the Michigan Center for Nursing
(MCN), based in Okemos.
• As of Jan. 1, 2008, an estimated
93,657 licensed registered nurses
were working full or part time in
nursing or a related area in Michi-
gan, reports the MCN in "A Profile of
Michigan's Nursing Workforce 2009."
• About 39 percent of those said they
planned to stop practicing in one to
• Nursing schools serving the Jewish
News circulation area are: Eastern
Michigan University,Ypsilanti; Henry
Ford Community College, Dearborn;
Madonna University, Livonia; Mott
Community College, Flint; Oakland
Community College, Highland
Lakes campus; Oakland University,
Rochester Hills; Schoolcraft College,
Livonia; University of Detroit Mercy,
Detroit; University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor and Flint; Washtenaw Com-
munity College, Ann Arbor; Wayne
County Community College; and
Wayne State University, Detroit.
More information is available at