Thinking of becoming a nurse? Now is as good a time as any to get started in your career, and you will be pleased to know that employment prospects–as well as career options–are quite abundant. In fact, there will likely be a growing demand for nurses over the next several years. This is suggested by employment projections made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that the demand for nurses will continue on until 2022. With more than 525, 000 new nurses required in the workforce from 2012 to 2022, the number of job openings is expected to increase to over 1 million.
The demand for RNs, LPNs and general nurse practitioners is greater than it has ever been. In order to meet this demand, many colleges have opted to offer programs that combine classroom-based and clinical instruction with online courses. Although traditional nursing programs are still the primary educational pathway toward a career in nursing, the hybrid online-classroom/clinic-based approach is expected to become more widespread in the future.
There are a number of reasons for the increasing demand for nurses. One of the most significant is the rise in more specialized health care services, which itself is the result of the baby boomer generation growing into retirement age. The implications of this social phenomenon are significant and far-reaching, and have a considerable impact in the healthcare community. The increasing number of people who require specialized healthcare services results in a corresponding rise in demand for nurses as well, and this could affect employment prospects for nurses throughout the rest of the decade.
Patients aren’t the only ones getting older either. Considering that the median age for nurses is currently 46, more than half of the current nursing workforce will soon be gearing up for retirement as well. As the current batch of nurses themselves moves closer and closer to retirement, there will be an increasing need for new nurses to take their place.
Another significant factor in the increasing demand for nurses is the changing healthcare services landscape. Apart from the increasing numbers of people getting older and living longer, there are also more and more people who will be given increased access to healthcare. With healthcare reforms resulting in millions of people now able to avail of services previously inaccessible to them, more and more nurses will be needed in order to address the demand.
The increasing demand for nurses poses significant challenges for the educational sector, not the least of which is how to cope with the increased burden that this will place in terms of infrastructure and personnel. One of the ways by which these issues have been addressed is by combining online instruction with more traditional classroom and clinic-based teaching models. Apart from easing the strain from the already burdened educational system, this hybrid method offers the advantages of a more flexible and versatile learning environment. For aspiring nurses who wish to become part of the modern-day nursing workforce, the hybrid approach to learning is a feasible option.