Need for Nurses with Advanced Degrees on the Rise

As the need for quality patient care continues to grow and the Affordable Care Act makes profound changes to the American healthcare system, there is an ever-increasing need for nurses with advanced degrees to take on leadership roles.

According to Jane Kirschling, a registered nurse and president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the number of nurses earning master's and doctorate degrees has been soaring in recent years, Nurse.com reported.

The emphasis being placed on nurses earning advanced degrees may have to do with the aging of the Baby Boomer population combined with the 32 million additional Americans that will be eligible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the News & Observer. Nurses are increasingly needed to fill in for doctors who are stretched too thinly.

"We can't just rely on any one profession to meet the needs of 30-plus million people in the population needing care," Debra Barksdale, president of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, told the source.

Registered nurses can take advantage of this growing need by acquiring an advanced degree, and moving into any number of upper-level positions within the nursing community, including education and management. The growing needs of patient care make it an ideal time to purse a career in nursing.

"As the patient population becomes more diverse, and the delivery of care more complex, nurses with advanced knowledge and skills can influence the quality of care that patients receive," Carole Eldridge, a nursing graduate program director, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "With expertise in in-demand disciplines, nurses can also expand their current scope of practice and increase their professional marketability."

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN,  BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. 

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