DOVER -- The economic recession that began back in 2008 may have caused a temporary lull in the discussion about the "nursing shortage." However, the long-term projection is for a shortage of 800,000 nurses in the United States by the year 2020. Union Hospital and the Kent State University School of Nursing are teaming up this academic school year to promote a career in nursing to local high school students.

"Nursing continues to be the fastest growing occupation in the United States," according to Kim Nathan, director of Employee Health and Wellness and Occupational Medicine at Union Hospital. "Along with the KSU School of Nursing, Union Hospital will again sponsor the Nursing Career Exploration program during the school year to encourage students to consider careers in nursing."

Nathan said the Nursing Career Exploration program hosts a small group of 7 or 8 high school students at Union Hospital for an in-depth look at the many areas in the hospital that employ nurses. The program is held once a month on Sept. 11, Oct. 9 and Nov. 13. During the three-hour program, students are escorted by an experienced nurse to several of the nursing units in the hospital, which might include medical, surgical, ICU/step down, maternity, emergency, or pediatric units.

Then on Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon, the 20 to 25 students who observed nurses at Union Hospital in the previous months will be invited to the Kent State University at Tuscarawas School of Nursing. Staff at the nursing school will provide hands-on experiences in the nursing labs and give the students a taste of the nursing school experience. All participants will receive a T-shirt, a free application, and lunch.

High school students interested in attending one of the Nursing Career Exploration sessions on Sept. 11, Oct. 9 or Nov. 13 may register now on-line at www.unionhospital.org, at "Health Events" or by calling the hospital's Community Relations office at 330-602-0778.

Registration is limited for each of the three monthly sessions. Additional Nursing Career Exploration dates will be announced for January, February, and March of 2014.