Nowadays, the key aspect of health care is the discussion of the field’s development and evolvement in the context of providing quality care for patients and providing beneficial working conditionals for the professionals. Some of the most significant milestones in the fields’ redesign were the adoption of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011 publication on the prospects of nursing. Both the legislation and the report pondered the possibilities of shifting the health care’s focus from secondary and reactive care to primary and proactive patient services. According to IOM (2011), nurses play a critical role in securing patient-oriented and preventive care across the state. However, in order to meet the expectation of the newly adopted model, specific attention should be paid to the notion of continuous education as a driver of change. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the current nurses’ opportunities for growth based on the personal example and trends in health care.
Career Options and Educational Level
Considering the fact that I am currently an RN pursuing my BSN degree, I shall review job market opportunities for both positions to justify my motivation to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Hence, a license of a Registered Nurse currently provides nurses with a variety of employment options, with all of them being explicitly related to working directly with patients and being a part of an interdisciplinary team. Thus, RNs can be qualified nurses in different healthcare departments, including both direct and indirect patient care. Hence, with an RN license, I could pursue such careers as nursing in hospitals, nursing facilities, home care, and private clinics.
The BSN degree, on the contrary, while presenting the nurse with the same options, allows the nurses to have administrative and leading positions in the facilities. A BSN nurse is capable of becoming a nurse administrator, a nurse manager, or a nurse educator. Essentially, a BSN degree accounts for the additional level of autonomy and authority within the facility. For this reason, I am willing to pursue a baccalaureate degree, as BSN provides the ability to become an advocate for change through leadership in the workplace.
However, there is currently another reason for nurses pursuing BSN degrees. According to Krugman and Goode (2018), the modern job market, encompassing various types of medical establishments, promotes the idea of hiring nurses with a minimum of a BSN degree in order to secure better patient outcomes. For this reason, despite the variety of employment options for RNs, today’s job market is generally reluctant to hire nurses without a baccalaureate degree because they seek nurses with extensive expertise in humanities, liberal arts, and evidence-based practice approaches. For this reason, it becomes evident that the BSN degree is the minimum required to find a proper job opportunity in the labor market.
Recommendations for Higher Education Options
Since education has now become a priority concern for health care, it is necessary to define how the educational expectations can be met. Fundamentally, IOM (2011) outlines eight major recommendations for enhancing nursing education, namely:
- Ensuring that the nurses’ scope of practice and competencies are not limited in the workplace;
- Encouraging nurses’ role and authority in multidisciplinary teams by educating them to take managing positions;
- Implementing nurse residency programs;
- Increasing the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree;
- Increasing the number of nurses with doctorate degrees;
- Securing continuous education for nurses;
- Promoting leadership;
- Improving workforce conditions and requirements based on the relevant data.
In order to follow these recommendations, IOM presents a variety of possible degrees for nurses besides RN and BSN, including APRN, MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. in nursing. The ARRN qualification is the type of license that does not require a baccalaureate degree yet presents nurses with a wider range of expertise than an RN certificate. Since currently, I am already pursuing a BSN program, the next step for me will be to receive a master’s degree in Science of Nursing. The MSN degree allows nurses to become nurse educators, practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists, as well as secures higher salaries. Since the BSN-to-MSN program takes nearly two years, I plan to finish it by the year 2024. After this, I want to receive a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) by 2026, as I strive to become a part of the clinical nurse faculty and management team.
The Role of Education in Competitiveness and Competence
Since I have started my transition from an RN to a BSN, I have discovered a series of benefits for my professional growth and patient outcomes. First, I have learned to incorporate the study of humanities and liberal arts into treatment, resulting in a more comprehensive approach to every individual patient. The education of nurses comprises two major parts: clinical practice per se and the external aspects of health such as community well-being, psychological support, social welfare, and preventive health. Thus, while pursuing a BSN degree, I gradually gain on-hands experience on how to incorporate both these aspects into the extensive care model. As a result, I become one step close to taking a leadership position within the team. Moreover, it has already been mentioned that currently, an advanced degree is a mandatory requirement for most employers, so it provides me with a competitive advantage in the market.
ANA Standards and Continuous Education
The American Nurses Association (ANA) Standards and Scope of Practice, as well as the ANA Code of Ethics, include an extensive number of rules and recommendations for quality nursing practice. Thus, one of the requirements for the scope of practice assumes that nurses should achieve the best possible patient outcomes as an obligation to society (ANA, n.d.). Hence, while the patient expectations grow every day along with the technological and social innovations, lack of nursing education deprives nurses of the ability to follow the established guidelines. For this reason, nurses who pay no attention to education are ultimately incapable of adhering to the nationally recognized rules of nursing conduct.
The Relevance of Continuous Nursing Education
The notion of education and the degree required to enter the professional is a rather questionable endeavor. Indeed, while employers nationwide expect nurses to have a minimum of a BSN degree, the alarming problem of nursing shortage becomes more challenging. For this reason, it is hard to tell whether all nurses should pursue career milestones from RN certificates to doctorate programs. However, it is evident that continuous education in the workplace should be mandatory. According to the research, the introduction of such tools as simulation learning contributes to better patient outcomes and nurses’ confidence in the workplace (Crowe et al., 2018). Hence, taking the evidence into consideration, it may be concluded that nursing education is key in terms of securing a prosperous future for the patients and health care teams nationwide, regardless of its type.
American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Scope of practice. Web.
Crowe, S., Ewart, L., & Derman, S. (2018). The impact of simulation based education on nursing confidence, knowledge and patient outcomes on general medicine units. Nurse Education in Practice, 29, 70-75. Web.
Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. The National Academies Press.
Krugman, M., & Goode, C. J. (2018). BSN preparation for RNs: The time is now! JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 48(2), 57-60. Web.