CINCINNATI - When health care reform is enacted, the way you receive care and where you receive it may change. Local experts in the field say there will be a demand for more nurses. But is a two year college degree enough?
Mary Duffey heads up the Workforce Center of the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. She says, two years of college is not enough for the future of nursing.
"Several of our hospitals are really preferring a bachelor's degree now and this is important for school counselors, students looking for careers, even parents that are coaching men and women for their future career in nursing that the expectation is changing," Duffey said.
This trend goes way beyond Cincinnati.
"There's a national push to require a bachelor's degree," said Duffey. "In fact, the Institute of Medicine has a recommendation that 80 percent of our nurses will have a bachelor's by 2020. Right now nationally, we're about at a 50 percent rate."
Mary Rosenfeldt started out in nursing with a 2-year degree 20 years ago. And now she's working on her master's degree.
"The reason I went back to school is to gain some skills as an administrator," Rosenfeldt said. "I've been in a lot of different roles as a nurse and I gave a lot of direct care, but I hadn't been exposed to the kind of skills that you really need to be an administrator."
Duffey says health care reform is driving the changes in nursing.
"The roles in the past have been very hospital based but now we're really bringing the care out into the community," said Duffey. "So, we're going to see a lot more nurses in employment settings, in schools, a lot more out to bring the care and look at prevention and wellness."
With new roles and responsibilities, Duffey says the industry as a whole is looking at the way they educate nurses. She says schools still have a lot of work to do to change the way nurses are prepared to work in the community. With healthcare reform and 28 percent of the nurses locally are over the age of 50, according to the Health Council, there will be a need to fill a lot of nursing roles in the future.
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