New Nursing Roles Make Now a Great Time to be a Nurse

AURORA, Colo. – March 5, 2012 – The predicted changes in health care resulting from the 2010 Affordable Care Act will open up many new career choices for nurses who are interested in new opportunities to build on their nursing wisdom and practice.

“Now is a great time for nurses to grow and expand their horizons,” says Catherine Garner, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN, dean, health sciences and nursing at American Sentinel University.

Referencing a recent paper written by Jean Scholz, an adjunct professor at American Sentinel University, ‘A Changing Future: Where Do You Fit In?,’ Dr. Garner adds, “The changes in health care offer nurses the opportunity to advance their careers, meet the needs of patients in a new care delivery model and continue to strive for clinical excellence.”

She points out that with all the new changes in the health care system, there will be many new roles opening up for nurses, particularly in advanced practice, care coordination, case management, informatics and infection and prevention control.

“These new roles will create opportunities for nurses where they can maximize their attributes to help their organizations grow their services, increase their market share and ultimately improve patient outcomes,” says Dr. Garner.

Why Now is a Great Time to be a Nurse

There is growing recognition that excellent care requires the cooperation of interdisciplinary teams and nurses are at the core of it.

Nurses will most likely be the ones facilitating these teams, thanks to their day-to-day focus on improving quality care for patients across the various entities. Only a nurse truly understands the holistic nature of care.

Dr. Garner says the advances in electronic health records, digital radiology and system tools generate the need for experts in health informatics.

“Companies that supply these products are begging for nurses with expertise to lead their efforts to implement electronic health systems in hospitals and medical practices,” says Dr. Garner.

In addition, hospitals are now faced with losing Medicare reimbursement if a patient acquires an infection while in the hospital. Therefore, the demand for nurses with expertise in infection prevention and control is on the rise.

Also, Accountable Care Organizations will need experts in case management to coordinate the care of those with chronic illness to see that they get the most appropriate level of care at the best time and cost. Now is the time, Dr. Garner says, for nurses to build their credentials in case management – in particular.

Lastly, because thousands of qualified nursing students are being turned away from nursing schools because of a lack of nurse educators, Dr. Garner says this is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of our future colleagues.

“Many schools like American Sentinel hire adjunct faculty to teach online, and we look for those with current clinical expertise to share their experiences in the online classroom,” adds Dr. Garner.

How to Make Your Own Opportunities

To take advantage of the opportunities that the new health care system offers, planning and perseverance are required. Jean Scholz provides nurses the following tips:

  • Be educated and involved. Go back to school and enhance your credentials so that you are increasing your value your employer.
  • Follow the health policy news coming out of Washington, D.C. to learn more about the most significant reforms coming to the health system in decades.
  • Be able to speak the language by following the free Health Leaders Media newsletter at
  • Follow national initiatives, like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Improving Care at Bedside and the Institute for Health Care Improvement Initiatives.
  • Read nursing journals.
  • Join professional nursing associations and know where nursing is headed in the future.
  • Get more specialized education and become an expert in health informatics, infection prevention and control or case management.
  • Promote yourself by creating your own role. Dr. Garner points out that, in one of American Sentinel’s case management nursing student’s Capstone project, she’s developing a role for herself within a newly developing accountable care organization.
  • Ask your administration what its plans are for becoming an accountable care organization, medical home or for care coordination, then determine how your nursing skills fit into these plans.
  • If you are just there to work your shift, then focus on making your practice the best it can be.
  • Showcase your ambitions and speak up.
  • Ask how you can be involved, then make the time to become involved.

“With new health care changes underway that will transform the current state of the U.S. health care system, now is not only a great time for nurses to grow and expand their horizons, it’s almost a requirement,” says Dr. Garner.

A nurse’s wisdom is a solid foundation for building on the skills he or she will need to advance to the next opportunity. The health care system needs nurses to stay engaged in the workforce – but as knowledge workers, not just task workers. With all these great opportunities, what are you waiting for?

Heeding the call for transformational nurse leaders coupled with the shortage of critical-thinking, bottom-line-aware nurses today, American Sentinel University understands the importance of offering market-relevant, high-quality health care degree programs. American Sentinel’s accredited, affordable online nursing programs are designed to prepare nurses and health care professionals to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Learn more about American Sentinel University’s accredited online nursing programs.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degrees, nursing informatics degrees, an MBA Health Care, and a DNP Executive Leadership. Its online, affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.