Title: Solving the Nursing Shortage
Author: Que Schafer
For years, hospitals all over the United
States have experienced a shortage in nurses,
nurse administrators, nurse managers and
nurse practitioners. Unfortunately, the shortage
doesn’t appear to be getting any better.
According to a report by the Health Resources
and Services Administration, 30 states currently
have shortages of registered nurses (RNs).
The shortage is expected to intensify over
the next two decades, with 44 states expected
to have RN shortages by the year 2020. Furthermore,
the demand for nurses in 2012 is expected
to be 2.9 million, up from the 2.3 million
that were needed in 2003.
There has never been a more appropriate time
to pursue a career in nursing in the United
States. The total job openings, including
new jobs and replacing nurses who no longer
are practicing, will be more than 1.1 million
from 2002 to 2012.
The main reasons for the high demand of nurses
in this country include an 18 percent growth
in population, an aging, health-obsessed
baby boomer population, and extended lifespans.
According to a report released in May of
2001 by the Nursing Institute at the University
of Illinois College of Nursing, the ratio
of potential caregivers to the people most
likely to need care—the elderly population—will
decrease by 40 percent between 2010 and 2030.
The problem is one of simple supply and demand.
Demand for nurses will grow by 40 percent
by the year 2020, while the supply of nurses
will increase by only 6 percent over the
same period. The aging population of nurses
in this country is another factor. The median
age of nurses continues to increase, and
a large wave of retirements is unavoidable.
In August of 2002, the Nursing Reinvestment
Act of 2002 was signed by President Bush
to address the problem of our nation’s nursing
shortage. It was intended to promote people
to enter and remain in nursing careers, thus
helping to lighten the growing nursing shortage.
The law establishes scholarships, loan repayments,
public service announcements, retention grants,
career ladders, geriatric training grants
and loan cancellation for nursing faculty.
Funding for these programs is provided through
2007 by law.
To address the growing needs of today’s population,
at least one college in particular is offering
both undergraduate and graduate degrees to
motivated individuals interested in the nursing/healthcare
arena. Founded in 1976, University of Phoenix
is one of the original accredited universities
to offer online college education with complete
degree programs by use of the Internet. It
is the nation’s largest accredited university,
with over 17,000 highly qualified instructors,
170 campuses and Internet delivery worldwide.
University of Phoenix offers two Nursing/Health
Care undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Science
in Nursing (RN license required) and Bachelor
of Science in Health Care Services (BCHCS).
The graduate degrees in the same field are:
Master of Science in Nursing (RN license
required), Master of Science in Nursing/Family
Nurse Practitioner (RN license required)
and Master of Science in Nursing/MBA/Health
Care Management (RN license required).
“The nursing shortage in this country is
a major problem, but there are some pluses
to the dilemma,” said Barbara Sanner, the
Arizona Marketing Manager for University
of Phoenix. “One of the benefits to the shortage
is that you can virtually write your own
ticket, meaning that you can work anywhere
in the country, in any environment and the
job pays well.” Typically, starting registered
nurses earn salaries in the $40,000+ range.
University of Phoenix’s nursing program has
been accredited by the National League for
Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) since
1989. It is currently seeking nursing program
accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate
Nursing Education (CCNE). It is changing
its accreditation from NLNAC to CCNE because
most baccalaureate and higher degree programs
in nursing are now accredited by CCNE. Currently
in the U.S., about 70 percent of baccalaureate
nursing programs and 79 percent of master’s
nursing programs are accredited by CCNE.
The BSN program is designed to develop the
professional knowledge and skills of working
RNs. One must have a minimum of 30 nursing
credits to become eligible for this program.
However, a valid RN license satisfies this
requirement. There are 13 courses offered
in this program, and three of them have a
clinical component. Most of the courses are
online, but students have the opportunity
to do some of the class work in-person in
residency programs, for example. Students
also have several opportunities to interact
with fellow students.
The curriculum consists of biological, physical
and social sciences, which contribute to
the science of nursing and focus on the development
of the nurse’s role as caregiver, teacher
and manager of care. All three of the clinical
components require spending 20-45 hours of
practicum in five weeks.
“One of the key areas that distinguish us
from others is that you can take classes
at night,” Sanner said. “That is a big plus
for nurses, and our local campuses try to
fit courses that work for the tough schedule
demands that nurses have.”
“We also have a strong foundation in the
bio and physical sciences,” Sanner added.
“There is probably a perception in the market
place that we don’t have it, but that is
not true. We’re also not just offering courses
strictly for nurses going into hospital care.
We have courses that prepare you to become
nurse supervisors, managers of small-care
facilities, geriatric wards, etc. We offer
a broad basis for different kinds of nursing
opportunities, not just hospital nurses.”
The MSN/MBA/HCM program is intended to provide
nurses with the blend of advanced nursing
and business management skills necessary
to manage today’s health care delivery systems.
The MBA/HCM curriculum emphasizes the identification,
analysis and solution of multifaceted management
problems that require technical understanding
and balanced decision making.
If you are the type of person who is driven
by a desire to help people and to make a
difference in people’s lives, pursing a career
in nursing might be the perfect career option.
Enrolling in a nursing program such as University
of Phoenix’s gives students the opportunity
to aid people and make a very good living
while helping to eliminate this country’s
alarming shortage in nurses.
This article is reprinted with permission
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