Whether we’re the epitome of perfect health or a hypochondriac, or most likely, somewhere in between, at some point in our lives, we’ve interacted with a nurse. Nurses monitor a patient’s condition, administer medication, perform medical tests and chart progress. They specialize in care for patients at all stages of life; starting at birth and continuing on through death.
But it’s not just the traditional bedside hospital job that is available for the nurse, nurses enjoy careers in primary and ambulatory care as well as in-home and outpatient care. Additionally, there’s also community and alternative inpatient care settings, such as long-term care, rehab, and subacute care resources.
Growing Need for Nurses
In the next decade, the need for nurses will grow and those with degrees and experience will be in high demand. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor predict that by the year 2022, 526,800 new nursing jobs will be created, a 19.4 percent increase.
With an aging population, extended life expectancies, an increase of people battling chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity, and the adoption of the Affordable Care Act there is a great need for nurses. However, that doesn’t’t mean that the nursing field is accepting unqualified job-seekers. “Even though there’s great growth potential, the market is still competitive,” says Donna Cardillo, RN, a speaker known as the “career guru” for nurses.
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How to be More Competitive
There is especially a need for nurses with bachelor's degrees (BSNs) and higher. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses, 59 percent of nurses that graduate with BSN degrees find jobs at the time of graduation. This figure is even higher, 67 percent, for those who graduate with master's degrees (MSNs) in nursing.
Nurses who earn master's degrees like those offered by the Queens University of Charlotte also have the potential of earning a yearly salary that is almost $20,000 greater than that of registered nurses with bachelor's degrees. Studies have also linked higher nursing education with improved patient outcomes, which in turn saves hospitals money.
What Jobs Are Available for Nurses With Master's Degrees?
Many of those who choose a career in nursing look for greater responsibilities and roles in leadership. Some jobs available to those who seek master's degrees in nursing are: Certified Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Nurse Leader. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, client nurse leaders will assume "accountability for patient-care outcomes through the assimilation and application of evidence-based information to design, implement and evaluate patient-care processes and models of care delivery." Nurses with higher degrees are vital to the medical community.
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Being Great at What You Do
Although the need for nurses is great, organizations are getting pickier about hiring. "More organizations are interested in hiring for fit, not just filling a position," says Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA and CEO of Baird Group.
“Gone are the days when managers will settle for warm bodies to fill a shift,” she explains. “Today, the patient experience has direct financial ramifications for hospitals. Dissatisfied patients cost the hospital in lost reimbursement.
"Patient satisfaction is so closely entwined with nursing that managers need to ensure they are hiring for more than the degree and the technical skills,” Baird explains. “They are looking for communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills as well. Nurse leaders now realize that they must ensure that the people they hire are attuned to, and committed to, patient- and family-centered care.”
Chances are, if you’ve chosen a career path in nursing, you’re a people person. And there will always be people in need of health care. More so now than ever before, the job field for qualified nurses, with a proverbial “good bedside manner,” is wide open.