YSU Nursing Job Fair Draws Nearly 100

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Ninety-four Youngstown State University senior nursing students are transitioning to the workforce, graduating in May.

Monday, those future nurses learned how to interview for jobs and present resumes at a job fair with 10 employers — Mercy Health, Trumbull Regional Medical Center, Heritage Manor Rehabilitation and Retirement Community, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Metro Health, Select Speciality Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, The Surgical Hospital at Southwoods, Salem Regional Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

YSU Assistant Professor of Nursing Laura Calcagni works with these students every Monday from 10 a.m. to noon, transitioning their preparation from nursing school into practice. This job fair was part of their training.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Resources, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow nine percent from 2020 to 2030.

“With the nursing shortage and the demand for our students, we wanted them to see what opportunities are out there for them,” said Calcagni, who would like to see another job fair in spring 2023.

Ann Winter, Mercy Health’s University Relations Specialist for the Youngstown and Lorain regions, said she was excited to see all these students at the job fair. She added there are students ready to work for Mercy Health once they graduate.

Mercy Health also visits Kent State University campuses and community colleges, something her company plans to do more often since the pandemic is subsiding.

“Seeing these students in person and they’re so excited is really refreshing,” Winter said. “The pandemic has definitely taken a toll.”

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Gallery images include a view of the crowd at the job fair, Ann Winter and Linda Snyder of Mercy Health, students Chayton Watkins, Brent Weaver, Aria Wellington, Jacob Kimble, and Kristen Sipus and Kasie Machingo of Southwoods Health.

At Mercy Health, new graduates can start an extern residency program. Those nurses with experience sign on for a $10,000 bonus, while taking a night turn position for two years earns you $15,000, says Linda Snyder, Mercy Health registered nurse recruiter. 

Starting salary based on a year’s experience is $30,000 for the many opportunities at Mercy Health’s facilities. She adds once students complete orientation and are on their own, they have the ability to pick up extra money by working additional shifts. 

In addition, Mercy Health offers 100% tuition reimbursement for continuing learning through guild education.

“We hope to get back to normal here soon, but we do offer some great incentives,” Snyder said.

Kristen Sipus, charge nurse on the inpatient unit at The Surgical Hospital at Southwoods, says there are no open positions at her facility, but are taking resumes for future reference. 

“We’re finally in a good spot, so we’re very blessed,” she said.

Aria Wellington says it takes plenty of dedication to be a nurse.

“You have to be self-motivated to get through these programs, just because nursing is a second language to everybody,” she said. “You don’t really grow up and learn that stuff. It’s a hard career, hard program to go into.”

Chayton Watkins currently works in pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital’s Beeghly Campus and said she has a passion for helping others. She’s been working 12-hour shifts and slowly introduced into patient care – doing the role of a nurse.

“It’s a really awesome specialty, seeing how you can really impact their lives and help them through a low situation,” she said. 

Brent Weaver is an undergraduate nursing student and the Bitonte College Health and Human Services Student Representative. He said working with those in physical therapy, respirators, doctors and all facets of a healthcare facility is part of a nurses’ role.

“They all play a pivotal role in that system,” he said.

Jacob Kimble had a passion for science and biology, along with helping others – leading him into nursing.

“I figured why not combine both?” he said.

Weaver says this is a great opportunity for seniors like himself to see the employment possibilities ahead of them. 

“Nursing is a very dire need-field right now,” he said. “It gives us the best opportunity as Youngstown State students to grow and look at what is out there, what’s the best benefit moving forward for our students.”

Whether students leave YSU with an associates or bachelors degree, this area university will prepare these nursing students for their professional lives.

“Youngstown State is always there for the community,” Weaver said. “It truly is a great resource to take advantage of if you have the capability.”

Pictured at top: Laura Calcagni organized Monday’s Youngstown State University nursing job fair, attracting about a dozen employers with about 100 students inquiring inside Kilcawley Center on campus.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.