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A Degree in Nursing in the Robotic Age

When it comes to people-person jobs, few occupations hold a torch to nurses. And yet, news reports warn that these health care champions might find that some of their traditional duties automated in the next several years. One group of university students is even working on prototypes of nursing robots that would help nurses and doctors with a variety of functions, including information gathering and data management. Should aspiring (or even current) nurses be alarmed?

The short answer is no. Nursing positions will be plentiful. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing is still a booming industry. Longer life-expectancies and retiring baby boomers will provide countless opportunities across the greater health care industry. In fact, experts predict that job growth will exceed 27% through 2014, making nursing one of the fastest growing jobs on the market. However, the BLS probably didn't know that university students were constructing nursing robots when it conducted its study in 2004. How can you compete? In a word: education.

A Bachelor Degree in Nursing

While an associate degree in nursing is sufficient for most positions, consider pursuing a bachelor degree in nursing to ensure job security as medical advances continue flourish. Thus, even if automated nurses take over duties, such as dressing bandages, monitoring vital signs, or administering medicine, your skills and expertise will be still valued. Additional coursework can provide you certain intangibles that, as of right now, probably won't be outsourced to robots.

Why Earn a Bachelor Degree in Nursing?

For the patient, robots are a long way off from interacting with individuals in a personable manner. They can't placate patients in distress, nor can they always address individual needs. A practitioner who has a bachelor degree in nursing will have received extensive training in both.

A bachelor degree in nursing opens up many more career paths after graduation. In addition to receiving more practice time, clinical exposure, and classroom learning, an individual with a bachelor degree in nursing is in a prime position to continue his or her education at the graduate level. In other words, you could eventually specialize in areas such as research, teaching, consulting, and forensics.

In short, nursing is a great career field that promises strong growth. With each successive year of training, one's employment prospects and career potential rise accordingly. Securing a bachelor degree in nursing is an excellent way to solidify your future.

Sources:
US Department of Labor
United Press International

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