Teachers and nurses: professional futures

Year: 2001

Author: Preston, Barbara

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Both teaching and nursing experienced rapid expansion during the 1960s and 1970s, both related to the large expansion in public expenditure around that time and the need by the post war baby boom for schooling and health services. Both teaching and nursing experienced the effects of cutbacks in public expenditure around the early 1990s and a relative hiatus in demographically-driven demand. Numbers entering professional preparation programs for both nursing and teaching fell around the early to mid 1990s. Those recruited around the 1970s who stayed in the two professions are now moving into retirement age. Age profiles for the teaching and nursing workforces, projected for the coming decade, will be compared. In the context of projections for the general workforce, the implications for the two professions will be considered. This will include implications for the structure of the two professions (a 'hollow middle' with a small cohort from which to recruit professional leaders), career opportunities and work-lives, and the quality of patient care and student learning (especially those in regions or institutions in a weak position in the professional labour market).