Nursing is often seen as a calling. But in recent years it has also become one of the fastest growing professions, with the ability to attain the top jobs often tied to level of educational attainment.
This is what can make the Bachelor of Science in nursing an attractive option for both those already working in the field and those who want to enter into nursing.
There are many reasons why earning a four-year nursing degree can be worthwhile.
For starters, the healthcare industry is expected to add another two million jobs by 2024, according to projections from the federal government. That’s a 19 percent growth rate!
Even within the industry, nursing is expected to grow 16 percent. There are currently about 2.7 million nurses and there will be 3.1 million by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
All the hard work to earn a bachelor of science in nursing literally pays off. While there is a great deal of disparity in pay depending on where a nurse works, the BLS reports that the median annual salary for a nurse in May 2015 was $67,490.
Nowhere is the growth in nursing more apparent than in Texas, which is second only to California in the number of people working as nurses. In the Lone Star State, 198,650 people work as nurses. Demand has led to higher salaries as well: the BLS reports that the median pay for Texas nurses in May 2015 was $69,890.
Reason for Growth in Nursing Profession
We all know nurses provide a much-needed role in society.
As the numbers above show, the nursing profession is growing at a rapid rate. The reasons behind this growth in nursing include:
- An aging population that demands more healthcare services
- The need to educate and provide care for those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and dementia
- An increased number of people with access to healthcare
- A bigger awareness of the importance of preventive medical services
- A growing need for nurses at long-term care facilities and in home health as hospitals, facing financial issues, look to discharge patients more quickly
All this adds up to the need for more nurses, especially in large population states such as Texas.
Value of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
While a two-year degree can get you into the nursing field as a registered nurse, these days a four-year degree is typically needed to open the door to the best jobs.
Recognizing this, many schools offer a RN-to-BSN program, such as the online program offered through Houston Baptist University. Because of the flexibility of online programs such as this one, students can continue working while earning a degree that will move their career forward.
Those who already have a two-year degree will typically have education in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and possibly social and behavioral sciences. In a bachelor of science in nursing program, students learn more about leadership, clinical reasoning and communication. In addition, they also receive further education in the social and physical sciences.
Where the Job Demand Will Be For Nurses
Large population states likely drive a lot of the growth in nursing. In addition to Texas and California, large numbers of nurses are employed in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Across all types of medical facilities and all locations, nurses are expected to perform a variety of duties. These include: keeping records of a patient’s medical history and symptoms; administering medication; helping creating a patient’s care plan; consulting with and aiding doctors in the treatment of a patient; operating medical equipment; performing diagnostic tests; and helping educate patients on how to manager chronic or long-term medical conditions.
The places where nurses work also vary. Here is a list of possible locations where someone with a bachelor of science in nursing could work, as well as the median salary for the job as of May 2015, the latest numbers available from BLS.
Keep in mind that salaries vary with location.
- Government-run facility ($72,100)
- Hospitals ($69,510)
- Home healthcare ($63,840)
- Physician offices ($60,820)
- Residential care facilities ($60,370)
Specialty Nursing Careers
Nurses also often work in specialized areas. They can include:
Addiction nurses. Working with patients who are overcoming an addition to drugs, alcohol and other substances.
Cardiovascular nurses. Working with patients after heart surgery or those with heart disease.
Critical care nurses. Working in emergency rooms or intensive care units, often with patients who are in critical condition from illness or injury.
Genetics nurses. Working with those who are dealing with a genetic disorder.
Nephology nurses. Working with those who have chronic issues involving their kidneys, which could stem from conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Rehabilitation nurses. Working with those who are suffering from a disability.
As can be seen, there are many job opportunities for nurses, a profession that can be a calling but is also in high demand. Depending on your own personal goals, attaining a four-year degree in nursing can be a smart step toward moving your career in the right direction.