Nursing is a beautiful and noble career. This type of care for the most vulnerable and weak offers nurses the unique opportunity to be a transformative agent in a person's life. In the face of the worst or most frightening circumstances, nurses bring an element of human dignity and compassion, providing care and assistance that helps turn the situation into something more manageable.
Many times when patients and their families are in hospital, emergency, or long-term care situations, the logistics of treatment and care, coupled with an unsettled emotional state due to trauma or illness, can make for a stressful and overwhelming experience. Nurses step in, not only to help provide treatment, but to ease anxieties, answer questions, and educate patients and family members.
But there are far too few of these heroic caregivers out there, and the US is on the verge of a major nursing shortage. Read on to learn about the growing problem, and what you can do to help.
The Need For Nurses
As the baby boomer population ages, there will be a record number of senior citizens in the United States, many of whom will be in need of care. Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens will increase by 75 percent to 69 million, meaning one in five Americans will be a senior citizen. Although the nursing profession is currently one of the fastest growing in the country, by 2025 the demand is on pace to far outweigh the supply leaving a deficit “more than twice as large as any nursing shortage experienced since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s.”
Vulnerable populations, such as the aging, are more susceptible to chronic disease. According to Julie Sochalski, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, this combination, of the aging population and high rate of chronic disease is, “creating the perfect storm driving demand for nurses.”
Another factor increasing the need for nurses, is the imminent retirement of approximately 700,000 registered nurses (RNs). “The biggest cohort of registered nurses joined the workforce before the 1970s,” said Pam Cipriano, the president of the American Nurses Association. This means that the largest group within the field, approximately one-third of the current workforce, is coming of age to retire in the next 10 to 15 years.
Job Outlook and Security
The job outlook and security for RNs, is among the best in any professional field - in short it is a great time to be a nurse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the nursing field will add almost half a million jobs to the already 3 million, between 2016-2026. The BLS predicts that the nursing field will increase at a 15 percent growth rate, over the next 10 years, more than double the national average for all occupations. There are several states that have projected a deficit between their 2030 anticipated need, and the number of nurses expected to be in the field. This means there will be a great number of well-paying, available jobs in many states. Additionally, nurses receive higher than average pay: the median annual wage for registered nurses was $68,450 in May 2016.
Across the profession, nurses generally reported higher satisfaction rates than the national average, finding their work fulfilling and rewarding. Another benefit of the nursing profession is the job security. Nurses are a necessary part of the health care system and without them hospitals and other health care facilities would be unable to function. For this reason, even in times of economic uncertainty, nursing jobs will still be in demand.
What You Can Do
If you have a passion for caring for others, making a lasting difference through your employment, and desire a career that is exciting, dynamic, flexible, economically secure, and well-paid -- nursing is the job for you. Everything about the current state of the nursing industry, makes it a perfect time to go back to school for your nursing degree.
In order to practice as a RN, you must be licensed. To become licensed, you must graduate from an approved nursing program, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Other requirements for licensing vary by state. Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
There are several reasons that a BSN could be the best option for your nursing education, including but not limited to: more experience, landing a job more quickly, higher pay, and better job prospects. At Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, we offer a prestigious, competitive, and comprehensive nursing education, with the goal of developing professional nurse leaders in all areas of practice who can respond to the health care needs of a changing society. We are currently offering two program tracks: the full four-year BSN program and the RN to BSN completion program which is designed for registered nurses looking to further their career in the industry and obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Our graduates have gone on to become intensive care, emergency department, correctional, school, and public health nurses. Another great advantage to a BSN is that you can specialize in any particular area of interest you might have in the nursing field. You could also go on to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing, and go into a career as a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse administrator, or clinical nurse leader.
Whatever you choose to do within the field of nursing, know that you can make a real difference. There will never be a better time than now!