The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also commonly referred to as Health Care Reform or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a landmark movement developed to offer more Americans access to affordable, quality health care. Those who are already in the nursing field, or those who plan to enter, will see significant changes in the industry. Nurse leaders, as well as those considering leadership roles, should consider the changes brought about by the ACA and how it may impact their teams and patient care environments.
More People Have Health Care
One of the biggest changes of the Affordable Care Act is that more people will have health care than ever before. This means people who previously did not have access to medical advice or treatment will now be able to receive the attention they require. With more people having health insurance, more people will take the time to visit clinics when they are sick rather than using the emergency room as primary care. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations*.As a result, clinics and hospitals will need a larger number of nurses and medical staff to help manage the influx of patients.
Greater Focus on Prevention and Overall Wellness
One of the major goals of implementing the Affordable Care Act is to make preventive, primary care available to each and every American. The CDC predicts that employer wellness programs will increase due to the ACA. Currently, about 29 percent of employers offer wellness programs. With this change in focus, new patients receiving primary care for the first time will need to be educated on preventative measures and their overall wellness as a priority.
Increased Funding For Education
Another change that will coincide with the ACA is that nursing education funding will increase. Through the Nursing Student Loan and the Nursing Workforce Diversity programs, students can get loans to help fund their initial RN and undergraduate education. In addition to education funding, there are technology-focused grants and other grants available to equip nurses with the latest tools in healthcare.
Those who are advancing and looking to take on leadership in the field can pursue online degree programs such as Loyola University New Orleans’ MSN with specialization in Nursing Leadership (formerly known as Health Care Systems Management). Courses such as NURS G740 Health Care Systems, NURS G712 Nursing Financial Resources, and NURS G709 Legal & Ethical Issues in Health Care, offer targeted curriculum to develop organizational, management and leadership skills that can be immediately applied in roles throughout the healthcare industry.
When beginning a career in nursing, there is a lot to learn. It takes dedication and a good education to make it in the field. As the medical field grows and changes due to the ACA, more nurses are needed. Find out more today about an advanced education in nursing.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, accessed 12/12/13.http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm#tab-6/