Now more than ever, our economy governs the direction of today’s nursing careers. An aging baby boomer population means an RN retirement boom on the horizon and an influx of aspiring nurses. Health care employers are demanding more expertise from their nursing staff and these economic realities represent a plethora of factors indicating the need for advanced, continuing education degrees in the healthcare field.
Economic Demands on Nursing Careers
Nursing remains the fastest growing career in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and two socioeconomic factors affecting the future course of our health care system are likely to dictate this high demand.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates that the baby boomer generation over 65 years of age will double by 2030 to 71 million. The sheer number of seniors that will require quality, specialized patient care outpaces the rate of nurses expected to join the workforce in the next decade.
Nursing will continue to demonstrate its vital role over the next few years, as federal regulations become an important player in the health care industry. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will give more than 30 million uninsured Americans unprecedented access to medical services.
Resource Shortages Emphasize Advanced Nursing Needs
While demand increases for qualified nurses, the health care system must simultaneously contend with these shortages. The American Nurses Association predicts that more than half of the nursing workforce is approaching retirement within the next decade.
Nurses that are well versed in advanced care will also find a greater necessity for their skill-set in patient diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. An Annals of Family Medicine Study anticipates a shortage of approximately 52,000 primary care physicians by the year 2025.
While these figures suggest nurses may have their selection of any career, employers may be saying otherwise. According to the National Student Nurses’ Association, 80 percent of RN graduates say employers are filling positions with more experienced, educated staff. Approximately 63 percent of these nurses say health care organizations are hiring graduates with at least a BSN degree over those with associate degrees.
MSN Degrees: The Gateway to Enriched Nursing Careers
An economic demand for nursing is evident, yet health care employers are asking for more from nursing graduates. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing asserts that professionals with master’s degrees are always in demand because they enter the workforce ready for certification and often times have previous experiences in patient care.
Online degrees structured as RN to MSN programs, like the one Sacred Heart University offers, enable registered nurses the fast track to obtaining their master’s degree, with their bachelor’s along the way. This program provides the same high quality education and compassionate core values as students would find in a traditional classroom setting.