The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has long reported a nursing shortage in the United States and it doesn't seem to be getting better any time soon.
This shortage is being influenced by several factors, but the two most significant areas are the rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation and nursing schools struggling to increase enrollment capacities to meet the changing national healthcare environment. Compounding the concern is the aging of the current nursing workforce reaching retirement. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration projects over 1 million nurses will retire from the profession within the next 10-15 years.
Within the BLS' statistical analysis of the nursing profession, between the years 2014-2024, the estimated job growth for Registered Nurses is 16% with an estimated 439,300 nurses needed by 2024. The demand for Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is greater with a 31% job growth and employment change of 53,400 MSN prepared nurses over the next seven years.
The Need For MSN Prepared Nurses
As healthcare systems grow, patient needs increase and medical technology advances, the role of nursing is taking an increasingly role in providing patient care. Nursing has evolved to meet those needs by providing advanced education to Registered Nurses to allow them to move into more specialized roles.
Nurses are being drawn to fields in Nurse Practitioner, educator, nurse administrator, Clinical Nurse Leader and nursing informatics. All these specialties go towards greater patient access, improved quality of care and treatment of chronic or acute illnesses and diseases; and, the education of future nurses.
MSN Prepared Nursing Trends
The American Association of Colleges for Nursing (AACN) examined nursing trends currently affecting the profession. Increasingly, nurses with MSN degrees will find themselves working, not only in acute care facilities, but in rural areas, community health agencies, public or private clinics and colleges and university schools of These nurses, depending on their specialty, will often function as physicians diagnosing and treating illness and diseases, ordering labs, prescribing medications, etc.
An online survey conducted in 2016 by the AACN indicate that graduates from MSN programs in 2015 had job offer rates 4-6 months post graduation ranging in four national regions at 95% South, 94% Midwest, 89% North Atlantic and 89% West. Immediate employment following graduation for MSN students has slightly lower percentages for MSN graduates with 80% in the Midwest, 72% in the North Atlantic, 66 % in the West and 76% in the South. It should be noted that these figures are reflective of entry-level MSN students and not those nurses currently working as a registered nurse.
The Institute of Medicine has encouraged the training of 80% more bachelor prepared nurses (BSN) by 2020. With colleges and universities struggling to accommodate students, nurses who hold a MSN may find employment in colleges or universities as academic and clinical instructors to prepare BSN students.
Whether an entry-level MSN or an established working RN, the need for advanced practice nurses will continue to increase as healthcare changes occur in the country. To assist nurses looking for an online, accredited MSN program, Best Medical Degrees has ranked 30 Most Affordable Online MSN Degrees to help you with your school search.