A Turning Point in American History
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) Passed by President Barack Obama in 2010 is much more than a piece of legislature. It is more than a formality, it is more than words on paper. This act marked a turning point in American history and brought real change to the healthcare industry along with tangible consequences. Though millions felt the changes brought by the ACA, nurses were especially affected by it in a variety of ways. Many industries were impacted by the ACA and nursing was no different.
Reports on the impact of the Affordable Care Act in the nursing industry have come in roughly six years after the bill was signed into law.
Some reports show positive outcomes such as job growth in the field, while others paint a bleaker picture.
Many believe the ACA has resulted in larger patient loads for nurses, which decreases the quality of care. Leaving personal opinion aside, it is unarguable that the ACA has brought about changes in the field.
Demand for Registered Nurses
Among the many outcomes the ACA will bring about, demand for Registered Nurses (RNs) is of the most prominent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the demand for RNs will increase by 26% in 10 years, which equates to about 3.5 million nursing jobs by 2020.
It is important to note, however, that this increase is not solely brought about by the ACA.
The ACA and Nursing: How Will It Affect Nurses?
The Affordable Care Act will be extremely impactful. The ACA gave millions of previously uninsured people some level of health coverage, but this doesn’t mean more ER or hospital visits.
The rise in insured people means more nonemergency procedures, preventive care, visits to doctor’s offices and things of that nature.
Because of this very reason, the demand for RNs will be found in outpatient settings such as physician’s offices and home health care.
The ACA and Nursing: A Need for Higher Education
The ACA will also affect the skills nurses need to develop in order to succeed and grow in the work environment.
Nurses will serve as care coordinators, case managers, and critical care specialist, among many others and though they can gain knowledge and skills through on-the-job training, having a higher education is invaluable.
When applying for jobs, RNs with specialized degrees will be at an advantage and have more chances of landing their dream job.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act took the healthcare industry by storm, and nurses, just like all others healthcare professionals are noticing its effects.
Higher education from prestigious schools will put any RN in a better professional position.