After the IOM recommendations on the Future of Nursing, the nursing profession is set for change and so are nurses. Specifically, recommendations 4, 5, and 6 are critical to nurse education and lifelong learning (Institute of Medicine, 2010). As a nursing student, I have noted that discourses about the support for a baccalaureate degree, doctorate degree and lifelong learning are most likely to continue because they are important to the future of nursing profession and students. I have noted that many healthcare facilities especially with magnet positions will require nurses with baccalaureate degree at the entry levels and doctorate qualifications for leadership and specialized positions. The program content would help a nurse graduate to navigate the complex healthcare environment and adapt with the ongoing reforms. Hence, higher levels of qualification would ensure that I make a strong argument for advances in nursing education and lifelong learning. With higher levels of qualification, I would invest time and energy to promote higher qualification levels for nurses because they create new opportunities in a competitive labor market, particularly for nurse leadership and specialized positions.
Higher levels of qualifications would prepare me for diverse but related health careers. Generally, I would receive advanced knowledge in technical communication, which promotes leadership skills. Moreover, it would be easier to select a career from healthcare administration, specialized staff nurse, teaching, consulting or research. As a specialized staff nurse, opportunities exist to work in a clinic, hospital or work with physicians. My career is most likely to start at specialty departments such as critical care, intensive care and other specialized units. Such higher qualifications also lead to specialized roles, including working with the physician, dispensing medication, and reviewing patients’ conditions among others. As a staff nurse, I would be able to supervise other employees.
With higher qualifications, I can work as hospital administrator and perform other non-clinical roles. After acquiring adequate experiences, job promotion may include middle level management positions such as head of nurses or unit managers. Such positions also present new opportunities such as senior administrator, nurse chief or recruiter. In case I work as a non-hospital nurse, other career options are available. These may include positions in insurance firms, nursing homes or government institutions. In addition, other opportunities also exist in training institutions and pharmaceutical organizations for nurse a researcher and educator.
While the minimum standard of education for nurses has been debated in the past, I believe that nurses should support higher qualification levels in order to meet diverse, changing needs in the system and prepare them for a competitive job market. A study by Aiken, Clarke, Cheung, Sloane and Silber (2003) showed that a higher percentage of highly qualified nurses lowered patient mortality.
As a nurse, I would work with nurse leaders to encourage other nurses to advance their education, achieve a baccalaureate degree, doctorate degree by 2020 and ensure lifelong learning. As a highly educated nurse leader, it would be important to lead by example. In this regard, a nurse leader must continue to pursue further studies in order to facilitate the implementation of the current guidelines and recommendations and promote change within nursing (Thompson & Fairchild, 2013). Nurse recruiters should always appreciate the relevance and potential impacts of higher levels of qualifications on managerial outcomes. In the future, nurse leaders should have considerably higher levels of qualifications in order to qualify for the job, enhance professionalism, nurse workforce satisfaction and improve retention.
Aiken, L. H., Clarke, S. P., Cheung, R. B., Sloane, D. M., & Silber, J. H. (2003). Educational levels of hospital nurses and surgical patient mortality. Journal of the American Medical Association, 290(12), 1617-1623.
Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Web.
Thompson, J. A., & Fairchild, R. (2013). Does nurse manager education really matter? Nursing Management, 44(9), 10–14.