For nurses in the 21st century, there’s no denying the very clear truth that a nursing education is key to professional opportunity and career growth. Studies, statistics, and anecdotal evidence all point to the same conclusion: a nursing education is a worthwhile endeavor.
Pursuing Nursing Career Growth
A recent American Sentinel article highlighted studies showing clear evidence of the nursing profession’s encouraging prominence in terms of earning power, opportunity, and job growth around the country.
If BSNs earn an average of $7,000 more per year than nurses with an ADN, the sensible conclusion is that a BSN is a significant achievement well worth pursuing. And with online RN-BSN bridge programs making it even easier and more affordable, the writing on the wall should turn more and more RNs towards the career growth that a BSN will afford.
NPs and APRNs currently dominate job growth statistics. With increasing demand for NPs in a variety of settings, earning more than $100,000 per year is almost guaranteed for the majority of nurse practitioners in most regions of the country.
The Healthcare Economy in Flux
With more Americans choosing to enter the nursing workforce, competition for certain jobs is likely to increase. And as the nursing shortage lessens in severity, some facilities may choose to tighten their belts.
Threats of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – commonly known as Obamacare – can have a chilling effect on hiring in the healthcare space. Nurses may find certain positions being removed from job boards as healthcare institutions keep their ears to the rails for signs of economic fallout while waiting for the dust to settle in Congress.
Nonetheless, healthcare is currently approximately 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the United States, with current projections of at least 20 percent by 2025. With this projected expansion of healthcare spending as a segment of the American economy, we can rest assured that job growth for nurses will not stagnate.
Highly Marketable Nurses
In this relatively healthy and robust healthcare environment, marketability is a key factor in landing a satisfying and remunerative nursing position. A nursing education is a crucial component of being highly marketable.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, nurses with diplomas from hospital-based nursing programs entered the workforce ready for employment, even into the 1970s. With the rise of community colleges and the professionalization of nursing, nurses began earning college degrees, gaining more professional respect, and demanding higher salaries. While there are still thousands of LPNs and LVNs, RNs now dominate the profession.
With many hospitals seeking Magnet status and other special designations, Bachelors-prepared nurses are now strongly preferred. The statistics show that units with a higher percentage of nurses with a BSN leads to decreased morbidity.
It’s abundantly clear that earning a BSN increases a nurse’s marketability for certain types of facilities and positions in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
An MSN demonstrates a dedication to learning and professional growth, and specialized MSN programs can prepare nurses for impactful careers in management, informatics, and other areas of nursing specialization and leadership.
We already understand that NPs and other APRNs are highly marketable, and nurses earning a DNP or PhD can pursue even more specialized and respected positions in both academia and the healthcare sector.
The Key in the Door
Nursing education is the key in the door of opportunity for nurse career growth, professional respect, and a nurse’s ultimate attractiveness to potential employers.
From earning a DNP to elevating one’s status from ADN to BSN, a nursing education provides increased levels of skill and insight, intellectual growth, and unprecedented professional opportunity in the 21st century. Nursing education is indeed the key in the door.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, consultant, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com.
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