If you are a veteran or are soon to be discharged and are considering your next career move, think about this: the civilian sector has many job openings for nurses, especially for those with experience similar to what you have accumulated while in the military.
Here are the facts:
- In the last decade or so, the civilian healthcare industry has accounted for about 3.5 million new jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor; many of these are registered nurses.
- As the baby boomer generation ages and the Affordable Care Act increases, the number of people eligible for healthcare and the demand for registered nurses-especially those with bachelor degrees-is growing steadily.
- Many healthcare facilities and institutions favor veterans, especially those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Why employers like veterans
Military personnel are well positioned to help meet the demands for a greater nursing workforce.
According to healthcare industry employers who have hired former military personnel in the last few years, veterans make excellent employees. Employers understand that veterans are loyal, organized, dedicated, self-motivated and can work well as a leader and/or team member. Many former military personnel worked successfully under conditions that are measurably more stressful than most workplaces in the civilian world.
Employers in the healthcare industry also are looking for former military personnel, especially those with a BSN, because these veterans have shown the ability to learn new skills and concepts quickly and have many transferable skills. Veterans come with a world of experience and employers are anxious to create the bridges that will take you and other military personnel into the world of civilian healthcare.
Degrees are desired
Many healthcare industry employers, such as the Veterans Administration, require nurses to have a BSN, or are giving hiring preference to nurses with BSNs. BSN-prepared nurses are preferred for several reasons:
- In 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued a report called "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health." It set goals for nursing education and called for 80 percent of the nurse workforce to have a minimum of a BSN by 2020. Experts say that BSN-prepared nurses are well equipped to implement the country's newest healthcare policies and care for the growing number of insured patients and aging boomers.
- Many institutions are seeking Magnet® hospital designation, which means they must undergo extensive review and evaluation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Among the criteria for qualifying as a Magnet® hospital is evidence that the hospital is progressing toward at least 80 percent of its nursing staff having a BSN.
- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing believes that BSN-prepared nurses practice to the fullest extent of their education and training and can act as full partners with other healthcare professionals in redesigning healthcare in this country.
Veterans have a leg up financially
Committing to an online BSN program is a big step for anyone no matter when they do it, but as military personnel, you have one distinct advantage that civilians do not: the availability of programs for veterans that help pay for tuition and expenses. The money afforded by these programs make a BSN an achievable goal for veterans. Veterans should ask the school's financial counselors about governmental financial aid when applying for the online BSN program.
The time is right for veterans to earn a BSN
Every year, more and more nurses earn their BSN, many through online BSN programs. They choose this route because online BSN programs allow for flexible schedules and the freedom to work and meet other obligations while studying.
Whether you are active military or a veteran, the time to plan for the future is now. Earning a BSN will increase your job options and give you what you need to be competitive. A veteran's experience, coupled with a BSN, makes a highly desirable job candidate.
Learn about the UT Arlington online BSN program.
Sweeten, Valerie. "Healthcare field draws former service personnel," http://www.chron.com/jobs/article/Health-care-field-draws-former-service-personnel-6281794.php
"Careers for Military Veterans," http://hiringredwhiteandyou4veterans.com/
Orion International. "Hire military," http://www.orioninternational.com/employers_hiremilitary.aspx
www.military.com. "Healthcare jobs — uncle sam employs healthcare workers nationwide," http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/search/healthcare-nursing-jobs/government-healthcare-jobs.html
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