What’s next for nursing degrees following the pandemic?

Nurses have certainly been in the forefront since the pandemic began. If you’re thinking about entering this career, what can you expect? We’ll cover the outlook for nursing degrees, how the pandemic caused shortages, and what you can expect after you graduate.

Why is There a Nursing Shortage?

Hospitals at the moment are struggling to hire enough nurses. This is largely due to the burnout many nurses experienced (and are still experiencing) due to the pandemic. However, even though the jobs are there, health care organizations are still struggling to hire – why?

The answer can be found in the schools themselves. Many nursing programs are having a hard time finding enough instructors for the programs’ demand. This is due to the fact that the courses need instructors with advanced degrees, yet those who opt to be instructors will make about half of what they can expect on a hospital floor. As a result, there are only so many slots available to students who wish to study nursing. It’s creating a bottleneck and many that are interested in the career are being turned away.

What Can Nurses Expect for their Careers?

At the moment, student nurses are actually being offered jobs before they even graduate. And, even if you enter the program now, you will likely see the same demand from employers.

All areas of nursing careers are expected to see an increase in demand between 2018 and 2028. For “nurse practitioners,” for example, there is expected to be a 28% increase in employment opportunities. Acute care nurse is one area in particular that organizations are struggling to hire for in the midst of the pandemic.

The careers that are available to you depend on your choice of program and further education. Some examples of “nurses” include:

  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse midwife
  • Acute care nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Advanced practice psychiatric nurse
  • Critical care nurse
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Licensed vocational nurse

What Can You Expect in Nursing School?

If you’re thinking about nursing school, you’ll definitely want to consider what you’d like to do as a nurse first. For example, would you rather become a registered nurse? Or a nurse anesthetist? It will impact the programs you enter and the education you require. Registered nurses (RN) require at least an Associate Degree, but Bachelor Degrees are recommended, especially if you want higher pay and more responsibilities. If you wish to become a nurse anesthetist, you will need to have a Master’s in addition to a RN license.

In nursing school, though, students can expect to learn about health assessments, fundamentals, pharmacology, and similar topics. Students will also have to attend Skills Labs, or Simulation Labs, and clinical rotations.

The demand for nurses likely won’t slow anytime soon. Nursing as a career is very demanding, especially at the moment, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you’d like to know more about nursing, median wages, projected job openings, and more information about nursing careers, make sure to check out our Career Search Tool.

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