When it comes to opportunities in job growth, nursing careers are filled with open doors. In part, that’s because a nursing shortage has created more available jobs than nurses to fill them, and that’s a trend expected to continue. Although that may put a strain on hospitals and healthcare systems, nurses can use this shortage to their advantage since it means they’ll have greater options across a breadth of organizations.
That’s especially true for those with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Since that degree gives RNs the ability to take on higher level roles, they’ll be in greater demand, now and in the future.
Nursing Shortage Factors
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), there are a number of reasons that a shortage is occurring, and here are just a few:
- Looming retirement for older nurses: The ANA notes that about 40 percent of employed nurses are closing in on retirement age, and some are even past that age since they decided to remain in the workforce. But they can’t defer retirement forever.
- Shift to an older population: The government’s Administration on Aging notes that in 2014, those age 65 and older represented about 14 percent of the U.S. population. By 2060, that number is expected to double. Because older patients often have more complex and chronic issues, the need for experienced and educated nurses will be acute.
- Innovation in care coordination: Digital health apps, telehealth services, healthcare consulting, and at-home patient support are just a few of the directions that care coordination and technology-led care are heading. These services and positions are creating numerous vacancies that demand healthcare expertise.
These factors also represent areas for growth when it comes to nursing careers. Nurses will likely be asked to step into leadership roles, address more complexity, and meet challenges that didn’t exist even a decade ago.
For example, a nurse with a bachelor’s degree might be tasked with helping to implement an electronic medical records platform or to lead a telehealth services team that spans that country. Some may choose to consult for digital health app developers or to teach community health programs that expand health services across a region.
Setting Up for the Future
The looming nursing shortage is likely to drive demand for these highly skilled nurses even more. That means many hospitals, clinics, and healthcare systems will be turning to nurses with a bachelor’s degree to fill critical roles in administration, education, patient care, research, and community outreach.
In order to step into those nursing careers, many RNs are pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, and fortunately, they don’t have to put their current employment on hold in order to earn a degree.
For instance, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that helps you make the transition from RN to a nurse with a BSN. The accelerated program helps you develop critical thinking skills, implement evidence-based nursing practices, and integrate scientific thought as part of a patient-centered approach. Some career trends come and go, but with nursing careers, there will always be a need for nurses who can contribute higher-level skills and insights to the profession.
*Official program name is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion program.