Looking for a Solid Investment? Explore a Career in Nursing
It's a Great Time to Become a Nurse
In today's economic environment, we face challenging times. A once booming American economy has faltered, resulting in job losses across a number of employment sectors. Yet, health care, and specifically nursing, remains one bright spot on the employment horizon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Projections 2010-2020 released in February 2012, the Registered Nursing workforce is the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2020. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020. Growth will be driven by technological advances in patient care, which permit a greater number of health problems to be treated, an increasing emphasis on preventive care and improved access to care for many more Americans.
A Career with More Positions Than People
There are a number of reasons for the increasing demand for nurses, particularly well educated nurses. Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, a prominent researcher in nursing workforce issues, recently commented in the Journal of the American Medical Association that, "Over the next 20 years, the average age of RNs will increase, and the size of the workforce will plateau as large numbers of RNs retire. Because the demand for RNs is expected to increase steadily during this same period, a large and prolonged shortage of RNs is expected to develop ... threatening access and quality and increasing health care costs." Increasing the number of nurses in the workforce, however, is only part of the equation. Achieving higher quality health care outcomes for patients has also been linked to higher levels of educational preparation of the nursing staff.
A Degree That Opens Doors
Rush University College of Nursing, under the visionary leadership of its dean, Melanie Dreher, PhD, has transformed its prelicensure program from a bachelor's to a master's entry level into practice. This program is called the generalist entry master's or GEM. While similar to bachelor's programs in that it prepares graduates for generalist practice, the GEM program contains comprehensive clinical leadership content that most bachelor programs are unable to include such as evidence-based practice, quality improvement, clinical outcomes management, team building and delegation, inter-professional communication, informatics and fiscal accountability. Because students have earned a bachelor's degree or higher already, similar to schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, a graduate education is the logical next step in the preparation of qualified professional nurses. Employers that hire these graduates report they are superior patient advocates, excellent problem solvers and are committed to high quality care at the bedside.
A World of Possibilities: Nursing as a Second Career
Whether you are just graduating from college or have already embarked on a career in another field, the GEM program in nursing may be right for you. Students come with a variety of college majors-biology, psychology, sociology, accounting, finance, chemistry, anthropology, exercise physiology, criminal justice and nutrition-to name a few. Those students who have enrolled in the GEM program after being in the workforce for a period of time, have equally varied backgrounds-teachers, lawyers, social workers, accountants and many other professions. They all, however, share two things in common. One, they find it intrinsically rewarding to care for others. Second, they are curious about, and adept in, their understanding of the biological sciences. With these two elements as the foundation of their attraction to nursing, the great variety of their interests and backgrounds brings a depth and richness to the profession. In just under two years of study students graduate from the GEM program ready to undertake a variety of clinical nursing positions and/or seamlessly continue their education for specialty certification and earn their doctorate in nursing.
It seems a good investment is hard to come by these days. Some solid advice is to make an investment in an education and a career that will prove personally and professionally fulfilling.
If you wish to learn more about the GEM program, click here.