August 3, 2016
If you're ready to advance your career in nursing, perhaps it's time to think about the benefits of online nursing degree programs. You'll have the flexibility to work around your own professional and personal responsibilities and get a solid foothold on your future.
Whether you choose to earn an online bachelor's or master's degree in nursing, you'll be well positioned to take advantage of diverse opportunities in the healthcare field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings in the field are growing at a faster than average rate. The BLS expects available positions to increase by 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, resulting in an additional 439,300 jobs. Nearly 650,000 nurses will also be needed to fill the roles of those who will be retiring from the nursing profession by 2024.* Between both new jobs and those positions related to retirement vacancies, there will be a need for well over one million nurses.
As a registered nurse with a desire to strengthen skills, knowledge and experience, an online nursing degree could be a smart next step. There are two primary academic degree programs for nurses: the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), followed by a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) - or the accelerated RN to MSN track.
While it wasn't always common for a nurse to have a BSN degree, according to the latest survey by NCBSN, more than 60 percent of RNs are now prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher. A BSN is now critical for several reasons within the current healthcare environment including the increased complexity of care, the demand to elevate patient safety protocols, an aging population, advances in technology and a shift from acute care settings to community based care. The IOM's recommendation to increase the percentage of RNs to 80% by 2020 had changed hiring practices, retention and advancement of RNs within the healthcare field. Whether you've only been a novice RN or are an established professional looking for opportunities for career advancement, a nursing degree is highly valued.
As a nurse, you work long, and quite often, nontraditional hours. An online RN to BSN is designed to accommodate your busy life as a working nurse. You play a vital role in today's complex healthcare environment, one that requires critical competencies, including evidence-based care, health promotion, disease prevention and the use of technology. Online students work on their degrees while managing jobs, outside interests, family responsibilities and more. One student even trains rescue dogs and travels across the U.S. and Canada with her canines all while pursuing her online BSN.
If you already have a BSN, you may wish to advance further in your career with a master's degree. An MSN is a good choice for the experienced nurse who is interested in pursuing a career in leadership or administration within the field. You can enroll in the online master's in nursing program to open those doors. There is also an advanced pathway, providing eligible students with the ability to earn a bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing without breaking continuity. The program can save you money and time - up to 20 weeks - by completing graduate level coursework within your undergraduate program.
According to the BLS, nursing positions that require a master's degree are expected to increase by 31 percent between 2014 and 2024.* Within the online nursing program, you can prepare for one of these jobs by pursuing a general MSN, or choose one of three specialty areas: an MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader, MSN in Patient Safety and Quality or MSN in Nurse Educator.
The MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader program equips you with the leadership and critical thinking skills that you need to pursue a career as an advanced practice nurse. Top treatment centers are actively looking for highly qualified and educated nurses to assume leadership roles and take their facilities to the next level. An MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader sets you on the right path to step into one of those positions.
Due to recent healthcare reform, patient outcomes are more important than ever for the success of medical facilities. Consequently, the time is right to consider earning an MSN in Patient Safety and Quality. The program is designed to ensure that students graduate with the competencies laid forth by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," and are prepared to meet the complex and changing needs of the 21st-century healthcare workforce.
If you're passionate about teaching the next generation of nurses, the MSN in Nurse Educator might be the right choice for you. The degree prepares you for a career as a clinical or academic nurse educator anywhere from a major university to a hospital environment. Designed by nurses in the field, the program prepares students to sit for the nationally recognized Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) examination offered by the National League for Nursing (NLN).
Is an online nursing degree the right next step in your career? While an online program in the field can be beneficial for anyone, here are three types of people that will especially benefit from the flexibility of an online nursing degree.
Whatever your goals and situation in life look like, a Southern New Hampshire University online nursing degree can be tailored to meet your unique needs. When you enroll in a program, you'll have access to advisors and resources that will help you to succeed both academically and professionally. Once you're a part of the SNHU community, you're never alone in your nursing journey.
To learn more about pursuing an online nursing degree, contact our admissions team today.
*Job market data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. SNHU cannot guarantee employment.
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