Nursing in 2012 Is a Match Made for Success

December 21st, 2011


By , BSN, RN

Nursing is the new 30. The old view of the white cap as one of three acceptable career paths for girls (teacher and secretary being the other two) is now one of the hottest degree plans for men and women alike. High school and college students are filling out nursing school applications in unprecedented numbers. People are leaving their fast track jobs and other professional careers to become RNs. So, what does 2012 hold for this once traditional, now progressive, healthcare occupation?

First and foremost, I think, it will be about education. Advanced degrees will become less optional and more mandatory. Already, many hospitals are only hiring new nursing school graduates who hold Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). The Future of Nursing report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is driving the conversation about the value of a BSN education and we are seeing states trying to pass legislation making the BSN the mandatory minimum for nursing education. This trend will continue.

More universities and colleges, both traditional and online, will add BSN programs in the next year and there is already growth in the more advanced nursing degree programs. The IOM's call for doubling the number of nursing doctorate degree holders by 2020 will continue to push for innovative education curriculums to meet the growing need.

The responsibilities of the bedside nurse will continue to grow in 2012. As The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and private insurance companies expand their lists of no-pay patient conditions the work for keeping these conditions at bay will primarily fall on the nursing staff.

Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs) such as urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and pneumonia must be treated but will not be covered by insurance. It is all part of a continuing push to improve healthcare by developing and implementing a national quality measurement and reporting system.

It is all about patient safety and that is, in fact, the primary goal of nursing. But, with reimbursement tied to that same goal, hospitals will be implementing more complicated plans and procedures for preventing high-cost, high-volume HACs.

Another area related to the CMS Reform of Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Conditions of Participation regulations that directly affects nursing in 2012 is the demand for safe and adequate nurse staffing. The American Nursing Association (ANA) is strongly suggesting to the CMS that:

  • The CMS should require all hospitals to implement a hospital-wide staffing plan that will establish an appropriate number of registered nurses on each unit to meet the needs of the patients and expectations of those units. Factors to consider include number of patients, intensity of care, level of education of staff, training and experience of staff providing care and even contextual issues, including architecture and geography of environment.
  • The CMS should require hospitals to conduct, no less than annually, an evaluation of the staffing plans based upon an assessment of patient outcome data that are nursing sensitive.
  • The CMS should require hospital staffing plans to be publicly available.

So, despite the workload for nurses becoming more challenging there is good news ahead because adequate staffing should mean more hiring. These acts to improve the quality of care will result in more new jobs than any other occupation.

The aging of the nation's population, that baby boomer generation, is another reason for the expected job growth. We've been talking about it for years and now it is here; all the advances in health care have us living longer. Home health care will increase since the numbers of us who are living longer are living better. Functional disabilities which can be monitored with wireless equipment and phone hook ups combined with a preference for in home care will demand more nurses outside traditional settings of hospitals and doctor's offices. Employment in nursing care facilities is also expected to grow faster as more people require long term care.

Hiring in traditional hospital settings may not change much in the next year since there is more financial pressure on them to discharge patients as soon as possible and many physicians are doing more procedures on an outpatient basis. However, look to long-term care and rehab facilities like those that treat stroke and head injury patients or those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or needing chemotherapy.

Other factors adding to the potential for new jobs for nurses is the growth of technology. As more advanced equipment is developed and implemented a teaching force is needed to demonstrate how it is all used. Pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies love to hire nurses as their product representatives. Really, who is better to explain a new piece of equipment than someone who would actually use it?

All in all, nursing's future for 2012 and beyond is rosy. The economy isn't great but it will get better, there are already signs of that happening. No amount of technology will replace hands on skills and human touch; it just enhances our nursing techniques and abilities. The demand is out there. Schools are doing everything they can to make more classroom space available. The biggest challenge is changing our view of what nursing is and where it can take us.

One Response to “Nursing in 2012 Is a Match Made for Success”

  1. Lee Says:

    That’s certainly good news for anyone seriously evaluating nursing as a career option. What will encourage them further is the result of a study conducted by the U.S. News and World Report, which placed registered nurse right on top of a list of 25 best careers of 2012. The profession gets pride of the place on the list owing to its projected growth over the next decade, compensation, job prospects, and overall job satisfaction. Find out more on the link below:

    Looks like something you want to do? Check out the nursing degree programs at CollegeAmerica.

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