In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released its report Future of Nursing and this document identifies specific areas to improve the nursing profession. In the report, the IOM recommends that (a) the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree is increased to 80% by 2020, (b) the number of nurses with a doctorate is doubled by 2020, (d) nurses engage in lifelong learning. There is already an existing high demand for nurses in the US. Such demand will continue because there are a growing number of older populations, and the population has also become more diverse. The change in the demographics of US patients also requires enhanced set of knowledge and expertise from the health providers, especially nurses who provide the most direct services in the health care delivery systems (IOM, 2010).
As a nursing student, my options in the job market are still limited. However, when I graduate and gain a baccalaureate degree, my chances of landing a better job is increased. I will have benefitted from the an improved nursing curriculum that addresses the changing health demands of the population that now requires more focus on treatment of chronic diseases.
Increasing my level of education, through a Masters degree or a Doctorate degree, will certainly give me a competitive edge over other nursing applicants. These higher education courses will develop my leadership skills and my capability to effectively engage with other health professionals to improve our systems of health care delivery. The interactions with other students at the graduate and post-graduate levels widen the scope of my exposure to the policy-making and decision-making arenas.
Increasing my level of education will definitely change my role in the future of nursing. I will be performing leadership roles as a supervisor or team leader. I can see myself as carrying out more management-related functions which means being responsible for nurses at the junior level. These responsibilities mean that my role has expanded from being focused on a patient or a set of patients to being accountable for the efficiency of more people and a specific aspect in the health system.
An increase in my level of education means contributing more to the improvement of the nursing profession. Gaining a baccalaureate degree means I am able to provide the appropriate care to the patients. My training highlights patient-centered care, thus I make sure that patients’ rights are respected. A masters degree exposes me to more knowledge and skills enabling me to be more culturally responsive and collaborative with the health teams. Master-trained nurses would have enhanced their leadership capabilities. When I gain my doctorate degree, I will be involved with policy-making, evaluation, and responsible for more persons occupying junior positions.
I believe that it is important to continue increasing one’s level of education because taking the time to study gives nurses an opportunity to look at our experiences from a distance. This gives us a chance to identify where the weaknesses are and how we can improve such service. My education has enabled me to evaluate my own experiences. As my knowledge grows, I am better equipped to provide a better service. My increased knowledge and skills certainly enable me to contribute better to an improved nursing profession at present and in the future.