A recent report from The Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls on nurses to take a greater role in America's increasingly complex health care system. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be fueled by changes in medical care to include more preventative care, and an increase in the number of individuals with access to healthcare, as well as an increasing population of baby boomers who are living longer, more active lifestyles.
Nurses who earn a Bachelor's degree gain more than the credential. Comprehensive courses in areas like pharmacology and pathophysiology provide a solid foundation for advanced practice roles, especially for those RNs who want to go on to graduate school. Coursework addressing contemporary issues in nursing and healthcare, and providing opportunities for experiential learning and leadership help to equip nurses for autonomous practice and be better prepared to respond to the evolving healthcare environment.
The career possibilities for highly skilled BSN-prepared nurses include:
- :: Clinical Nurse Manager - Another high-level, managerial position in nursing, the Clinical Nurse Manager is responsible for directing, organizing, and supervising the nursing staff. Clinical Nurse Managers (also sometimes referred to as "head nurses") are considered middle management and generally report to either the Chief Nursing Officer or Director of Nursing Services. PayScale reports that the median annual Clinical Nurse Salary is between $53,845 and $100,567.
- :: Clinical Nurse Educator - Nurse educators combine clinical expertise and a passion for teaching to help hospital managers and administrators develop continuing education and nurse development programs for the staff. RNs will typically need to complete a nurse educator training program in addition to earning their BSN in order to work as clinical nurse educators. PayScale reports that the median annual clinical nurse educator salary is between $50,704 and $93,576.
Nursing is a highly competitive field. According to a report by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the growth of the nursing workforce outpaced the growth of the U.S. population in the 2000s. In addition, many hospital systems are pursuing a coveted "Magnet" designation awarded by the American Nurses Association, and as such are requiring that their nurses and any new nursing hires have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing. To stay competitive, for job security and to have opportunities down the road, it's vital to stay on top of this trend and pursue continuing education that will keep you as qualified as your contemporaries.
Additionally, studies show that BSN graduates are much more likely to have job offers by graduation or soon after compared with graduates from other fields. A national survey from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found that 59 percent of BSN graduates had job offers at the time of graduation, substantially higher than the national average across all majors and professions1. The 2013 survey also found that 89 percent of BSN graduates had secured employment in the field within four to six months after graduate.
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