The Era of Healthcare Reform & Emerging Demand For Specialized Nursing Graduates

Healthcare ReformThe new health care reform laws along with the new models of care delivery, global payment and preventive care is boosting certain careers. And the success of the health care delivery system is directly linked to its workforce. An important segment within this workforce is the 2.8 million registered nurses, who provide their services in various settings. The nature of nursing careers is in sync with the developing model of holistic care, care coordination, adherence to protocol and better management of chronic diseases.

The Emerging Demand

A question that needs to be answered in light of current healthcare system within the U.S. is whether the workforce is potent enough to meet the challenges. An important parameter in this regard is the choices of careers when it comes to nursing and healthcare. Let's see what the statistics have to say.

In the 1990's, there was a drop in the students opting for nursing careers. At that time, it was predicted that by 2020, there would be a shortage of nearly 1 million registered nurses. A major turnaround was also seen since the early 2000's. The online education model as well as the need for jobs has led to high entry into the nursing careers.

The result in the diversified specialization of nursing degrees has led to a profound effect. In the 1990's, the number hovered around 80,000. But from 2002 to 2010, it has boomed to 157,000.

Reform and scope of specialization

The surge in nursing enrollment doesn’t necessarily equate into well-paying careers. The integrated post-secondary education data system indicates that students are taking advantage of 2 year associate degrees to enter into nursing profession.

But the conventional medical degrees won't equate a similar outcome or guarantee employment in specialized nursing. However, a transition from LPN to BSN would be a smart way to make progress in the nursing profession, as estimates show job opportunities in nursing careers growing by 26% by 2020.

Dynamism in the nursing education programs

While the sluggish job recovery since the recession is also a factor in the attractiveness of nursing, the dynamism of nursing education programs is another one.

According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 2,600 programs are being offered within the nursing focus. Widespread growth is seen in the private and for-profit institutes in 2 year, 4 year associate and bachelor's degree programs. There are now nearly 200 programs, offering 12,000 degrees in total.

Finally, the Affordable Care Act program will provide various grants that will oversee training programs for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. Such grants would also be an important area to pursue; students can use such training to find jobs in nearly every state since the act is applicable federally.

The existing healthcare reforms are expected to promote the expansion of nurse-managed health centers. It is advisable that students pursuing nursing monitor to what extent nursing careers would develop in new models of care delivery and preventive care. So it is imperative to opt for skills that yield higher returns in the future.

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