By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Yes, nurses are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that 500,000 new RNs are needed by 2016. Every single media story about job opportunities in the recession broadcasts nursing careers at the top of the list. This does not lessen the value of continuing education and skill advancement. Travel nurses in particular are attuned to the rapid progress of the healthcare industry. With each new hospital assignment, travel RNs are exposed to new facets of procedures, technology and medicine in locations across the country. As the economy lags, the nurse’s commitment to furthering their education and adding value to their existing RN license, should not.
Education Opportunities for Nurses:
- RN to RN, BSN transition; A BSN degree means higher pay, additional opportunities such as in home health and hospice and a broader foundation of clinical knowledge that earns increased credibility in the clinical setting.
- A Master’s degree offers higher pay, opportunities to specialize as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner. RN, MSNs are also needed by nursing schools as instructors.
- Specialty training such as ACLS, dialysis and oncology certifications also build on the nurse’s interest in favorite clinical areas and again, provide opportunities for salary increases and career opportunities.
Well-publicized shortages of nursing instructors in nursing schools may be deterring some existing nurses from continuing their education. Many hospitals and colleges, however, offer continuing education and transition programs for existing nurses. Some of these courses are online, adding a welcome aspect of convenience to the learning process.
Contact your state board of nursing for educational opportunities and referrals to local colleges and programs. Also check with your hospital employer for in-house programs and contact local community colleges and universities in your area directly for course schedules.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.