As the United States faces an aging population, the importance of qualified nurses is growing. Stanbridge University President Yasith Weerasuriya explains why it is more important than ever to enroll in an accredited nursing program as part of a new career path and the rewarding benefits of becoming a qualified nurse practitioner.
“We believe that nursing education is one of the most rewarding degrees that you can get in health care,” said Weerasuriya. “It’s a profession that has many opportunities, and it starts with working with people who are patient-centered, team-oriented, and care about excellence.”
Weerasuriya shared his thoughts on nursing education and the growing need for qualified nurses in the United States while participating in a panel discussion at Stanbridge University.
Nursing Education Trends
According to Weerasuriya, the demand for qualified nurses is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. “Anytime you have an aging population or more individuals getting sick, that’s where nursing becomes critical. We need to have well-trained nurses that are patient-centered, that care about excellence, and care about their patients.”
The economic downturn has also created an opportunity for many Americans seeking a higher education degree to reinvent their career path. With the current shortage of qualified nurses in much of the country, there is a need for more nurses to focus on primary care.
“[Nurses] work with patients, and they can provide primary care,” said Weerasuriya. “Primary care means that the nurse is doing a majority of the work in terms of just taking care of the patient’s overall health. That’s where we see demand going up.”
He went on to say that nursing education is also a great degree option for today’s students who are unable to afford large sums of student loan debt. “There is an increasing enrollment in college and universities across the country, and they can’t afford it,” said Weerasuriya. “Having a degree that is affordable and less expensive than some other degrees is working for a lot of people.”
The Future of Nursing
Weerasuriya said that many nurses decide to pursue higher education degrees to further their education and ultimately become advanced practice nurses.
“Many nurses are saying, ‘I want more out of myself. I want more out of my career.’ That’s how they’re deciding to go back to school,” Weerasuriya said. Many nurses are also deciding to enroll in accredited nursing programs that offer advanced certification options, such as the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
“Nurses who have master’s degrees can become nurse practitioners,” said Weerasuriya. “They’re highly skilled because they’ve gone through masters programs, and they can provide care to patients who need more than just your traditional nurse. The future is here right now, and it’s a great opportunity for people.”
The Benefits of a Nursing Education
Weerasuriya said that nurses not only improve the quality of life for their patients daily, but they also significantly improve their own lives by furthering their education.
“You’re never going to experience another degree that’s going to pay you back in the long run,” added Weerasuriya. “And it’s not about the money. It’s about being able to make a difference.”