Recent years have come with the introduction of new healthcare legislation and standards, and, with those changes, so too has the face of healthcare—and the role of nurses in particular—changed within the medical field. What's this mean for those pursuing a nursing career?
Will nursing jobs increase?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed registered nurses is expected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, while the number of employed nurse practitioners is expected to grow 34%. Not only is insured healthcare now available to more people, but individuals are also living longer and have access to more preventive care due to technological advances. Together, these changes increase the number of people in need of nursing care.
Where will nursing jobs be found?
According to the ANA, the areas where patient numbers are growing the most will determine where nursing careers are headed. Typically, the largest number of nurses are employed in hospitals, but that number is decreasing as fewer people are being admitted to hospitals. So, which areas will show a growing number of nursing careers? These are considered to be the most likely:
• Nursing homes
• Home healthcare
• MD offices
• High-specialty areas
• Outpatient care
What are the requirements for a career in nursing?
Educational requirements vary based on the type of nursing, but more education often brings more career opportunities and larger earning potential. Education can be especially valuable in cities where there is already a larger nursing workforce and lots of competition for open positions.
• A certificate and license after a year of study is required to become a Licensed Practical Nurse who can perform basic functions in an office setting.
• An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to become a Registered Nurse who can work in a medical facility.
• A master's degree can enable a nurse to advance to higher levels of leadership and care, including nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners.
• Post graduate certificates may allow nurses who already hold a master’s degree to find a new specialization and move their career in a different direction.
• A doctoral degree can prepare nurses to drive change and provide leadership within the healthcare industry.
Every nurse has to earn a state license after completing a course of study, and continuing education credits are usually required in order to renew a license. Some nurses opt to specialize further in areas such as pediatric or geriatric care.
Overall, the career outlook for nursing looks bright. Those interested in geriatric care, outpatient care and home healthcare may come to be especially well-situated for promising careers. For those interested in non-bedside nursing roles, nurse informaticists and nurse educators are also becoming increasingly important in the healthcare world.
See our list of programs in the area of nursing and learn how we can enhance your nursing career today.