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Nursing Lifelong Learning and Employment Report

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Updated: Aug 8th, 2021


Education in medicine and nursing allows for a plethora of opportunities for employment at every stage of education. Nevertheless, the existing nursing barriers to practice create a division between what occupations can employees aspire to, based on their levels of experience and knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the available opportunities at my current level of education, create a plan for knowledge improvement, and explore the competitive advantages of higher education.

Employment Options at the Current Level

As it stands, my current educational level is that of an associate degree in nursing (ADN). It is enough to find employment in healthcare facilities in California. According to various job sites, an individual with an ADN can apply for a variety of positions, including operating room assistant, intense care unit nurse, telemedicine operator, psych ward supervisor, endoscopy, outpatient, and clinical nursing positions as well. The proposed payment varies between 45 and 65 dollars an hour, with an average of 9,000 dollars a month, excluding various benefits (“RN ADN jobs in California,” 2020).

Major employers include St. Joseph’s Healthcare Center, HC Solutions Group, TH Medical, Dignity Health, Veteran’s Health Administration, and Community Medical Healthcare Center, among many others (“RN ADN jobs in California,” 2020). Due to a chronic shortage of nurses, there is plenty of employment options in every city of California. The responsibilities in the majority of vacancies include assessment, planning, and hands-on care of the patients, except for jobs focusing on telehealth and outpatient care (“RN ADN jobs in California,” 2020). Most hospitals offer standard hours, 2/2 12-hour shifts, though there is an increased demand for individuals willing to work the night shift on a permanent basis.

IOM Recommendations and Prospects for Future Professional Certification

IOM Future of nursing recommendations puts a great emphasis on increasing the number of bachelor laureates in all states. Namely, one of its proposed goals is to achieve 80% of student retention from associate nursing degrees and into bachelor in order to solve the shortage of advanced nursing cadres throughout the healthcare system (IOM, 2010). To that end, they propose various state reimbursements and nurse residency programs in order to encourage nurses to stay and advance their qualifications without having to worry about exorbitant prices for modern American education (IOM, 2010).

I am pursuing a bachelor’s nursing program (BSN) for several reasons.

First, it will allow me to administer a higher quality of care for all patients I will be treating. Second, it will improve my opportunities for finding a high-paying job. Third, the state offers various benefits for individuals seeking to get a bachelor’s degree. The timeline for this endeavor is one year, as I am graduating in June. Right now, my focus is on finishing my course studies and then pass the various tests required to become a BSN nurse. After that, I will work to obtain the appropriate certifications to practice nursing in the state of California.

Levels of Education and Competitive Advantage

Increasing one’s levels of education allows for better competitiveness in the job market as well as increased overall performance in the field. A BSN nurse earns, on average, 18,000 dollars more in a year than an ADN nurse, demonstrating a clear economic incentive to follow through with the program (“Best California RN to BSN programs, 2020). In addition, the vacancies available to a BSN nurse include those with greater complexity and a wider range of responsibilities in order to highlight the better level of training and preparation a BSN has over an ADN nurse (“Best California RN to BSN programs, 2020). Finally, the BSN training program focuses not only on hands-on medical treatments but also on research and development of new nursing practices through randomized control studies and other endeavors of qualitative or quantitative nature (“Best California RN to BSN programs, 2020). Thus, a BSN is better-suited to engage in nursing research as a participant or even a leader. This research does not only benefit the hospital and patients in general, it also helps contribute to the future of nursing by shaping practices and providing evidence to change the existing protocols in favor of better ones, thus improving the overall quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of care.

Relationship Between Nursing Education and ANA Scope of Standards for Practice

There is a mutually-reinforcing relationship between continuing nursing education as well as competency, attitudes, knowledge, ethics, and scope and standards for practice. Continuing nursing education is an unspoken duty of any nursing professional, as doing so would improve the nurse’s ability to treat patients and answer their needs whenever possible. Patient-centered care is at the center of nursing ethics and standards, as medicine in general exists to serve patients, while acknowledging their individuality, autonomy, and capabilities of making decisions regarding their own health (ANA, n.d.). ANA Scope and Standards for Practice, as well as their Code of Ethics, highlight the nurse’s duty to be “able to practice to the full extent of their education and abilities in order to deliver the most efficient, quality care to patients” (ANA, n.d.). Therefore, furthering one’s education is fully supported and encouraged from all sides, and is considered useful as well as ethical.

Should Continuing Nursing Education be Mandatory?

Despite the mounting evidence of nurses with higher education being more efficient in performing their duties, as well as significant incentives offered by the government to improve one’s scope of practice, I believe that continuing nursing education should not be mandatory. As it stands, ADN nurses play an important role in furthering the scope of medicine, applying their skills, and working with patients everywhere. Their existing level of education and training allows them to do so, therefore making the advance towards bachelor mandatory is encroaching on an individual’s rights to choose their own education (Jackson, Jowsey, & Honey, 2019). At the same time, nursing as a practice is always progressing, and the demand for higher levels of expertise is growing as well. In the future, it would be possible for ADN to become obsolete, and bachelor becoming the new minimum of knowledge needed to work with patients and operate various medical technology (Jackson et al., 2019). Thus, it will be possible to increase the overall levels of education by raising standards of practice.

Nevertheless, such an approach might cause issues in the short and mid-term perspectives. As it stands, the US experiences a shortage of nursing specialists, which will likely exacerbate even more due to the increased requirements for nurses as part of the mandatory continued education idea (Snavely, 2016). Since nurses will be forced to spend more time studying, they will not be able to put as many hours into their practice. Those that would do so are in danger of suffering from burnout, the apathy of care, and other negative side-effects associated with increased workloads and the impossibility to find one’s work/life balance (Bakhamis, Paul III, Smith, & Coustasse, 2019). Based on these complications, I would advocate against making the continuation of nursing education mandatory.


American Nursing Association (ANA). (n.d.).Web.

Bakhamis, L., Paul III, D. P., Smith, H., & Coustasse, A. (2019). Still an epidemic: The burnout syndrome in hospital registered nurses. The Health Care Manager, 38(1), 3-10.

(2020). Web.

Institute of Medicine (IOM). (2010). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Report recommendations. Web.

Jackson, L., Jowsey, T., & Honey, M. L. (2019). In-Service Education: Evolving Internationally to Meet Nurses’ Lifelong Learning Needs. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 50(7), 313-318.

RN ADN jobs in California. (2020). Web.

Snavely, T. M. (2016). A brief economic analysis of the looming nursing shortage in the United States. Nursing Economics, 34(2), 98-101.

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