The population of those aged 65 and older in the United States is projected to be over 83 million by the year 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—almost double from 2012 when the last estimates were released.
Nearly every industry will be affected by this major population shift, and healthcare changes will likely be the most prominent. Already, the National Institute on Aging has expressed concerns about what it calls the “upward pressure on overall healthcare spending” caused by the rising proportion of older people.
This expected boom in population offers opportunity, particularly in the nursing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more than a million job openings for nurses by 2022, mainly because of the need for elderly care.
The need for nurses in aging population care is expected to encompass an array of settings, from home-based healthcare to assisted living facilities. Nurses will be essential for many tasks related to elderly care, from dealing with cognitive impairment to addressing falls. Even those who do not specialize in geriatrics will likely experience a major surge in older patients in clinical settings. Because of that, nurses will need to learn skills like assessing mental status, organizing medication schedules, and connecting patients with local resources.
In addition to caring for immediate medical requirements, nurses will need to use their skills in providing health education, discussing common health concerns, and navigating multiple chronic illnesses. Nurses know care can be so complex, older patients in particular allow nurses to be part of a collaborative care team that brings together physicians, rehabilitation, and specialists. The result is more meaningful, patient-centered care.
Value of a BSN
For nurses who earn a bachelor of science in nursing, the opportunities can be even greater. Beyond providing medical care, BSN nurses have the ability and knowledge to hold supervisory, education, and other mid-level positions.
They will be able to become care managers, lead teams for home-based healthcare programs, and collaborate in complex treatment plans. Facilities might include hospice care, rehabilitation centers, assisted living, and online nursing services.
The National Institute of Nursing Research notes that nurses provide frontline healthcare for older adults in a variety of settings, including preventative care in primary care offices and the community, acute care in hospitals and long-term care in nursing homes.
Nurses with BSN degrees may also choose to take on nurse scientist roles in which they participate in research studies that can lead to care improvements for older patients.
The expected growth within the aging population care is likely to offer more opportunities to bachelor degree nurses than realized, alongside professional and personal enrichment.
The momentous shift that’s anticipated in elderly care will drive the need for nurses overall, those holding a BSN degree will be particularly well-positioned to take on greater roles and responsibilities for care. Preparing now can yield career benefits long into the future.
For more information about Anna Maria’s online bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN) program, contact us today at 877-265-3201 or visit online.annamaria.edu/rn-bsn.
- Ortman, J., Velkoff, V., and Hogan, H. “An aging nation: The older population in the United States.” U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1140.pdf (accessed July 27, 2016).
- National Institute on Aging. “Assessing the costs of aging and health care.” https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/publication/global-health-and-aging/assessing-costs-aging-and-health-care (accessed July 27, 2016).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Economic news release.” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t08.htm (accessed July 27, 2016).
- Grady, P. “Advancing the health of our aging population: A lead role for nursing science.” Nursing Outlook. https://www.ninr.nih.gov/sites/www.ninr.nih.gov/files/DrGradyNOGeriatricNursingJuly20112.pdf (accessed July 27, 2016).