While the media is primarily emphasizing the impact of patients getting new health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, what’s discussed less is the good news to people looking for a new career path: The ACA will create a lot of jobs.
The reason is simple. When millions of people suddenly get health insurance, they will immediately begin seeking testing, treatment, and therapy that they could not previously afford. Since we know the medical job market is already famously tight–particularly for nurses–this can only mean one thing: There will be a lot more work available for qualified medical professionals.
Apart from the significant increase in front office paperwork for practices that suddenly have dozens of new patients, there will also be a need for more help in the exam rooms. Phlebotomists, therapists, and nurses will be needed in greater numbers, so those who are prepared for nursing careers and these related professions will be positioned to benefit immediately.
But digging deeper and looking at a longer horizon, there are other considerations for job seekers as well.
The Demand For Non-Physician Practitioners
Busier waiting rooms will enhance the need for doctors’ offices to delegate less-serious cases to caregivers like physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. These professionals, while not as intensely trained as the physicians they may work beside, nevertheless have a high level of skills and work within protocols that provide for them to seek the input of physicians in certain situations. In other words, when your chest cold shows signs it could be cancer, you’ll be under an MD’s care right away.
The path to the nurse practitioner certification begins with completion of a registered nurse degree, so a new long-term career goal can be built on the RN foundation.
Consolidation of Other Positions
Modern nursing programs go into such depth that nurses are qualified to handle many duties once performed by special technicians such as respiratory therapists. This reduction in staffing streamlines hospital operations and frees up resources–like payroll money!–for people holding less extraneous jobs. The old standby of career security holds true: Make sure you’re the one whose job never becomes obsolete. And as long as there are doctors and hospitals, there will be RN’s on the floor, regardless of whatever other positions come and go.
It’s A Seller’s Market
Once you complete your education, you’ll be in a stronger position than ever to dictate the type of work you’ll do and how much you’ll get paid to do it. Scarcity works that way. And in the tragic reality of life without health insurance, many people have died young for lack of treatment. Those patients will now recover from previously-fatal conditions and will continue to seek follow-up care and treatment of run-of-the-mill sore throats and so forth. So while their family’s lives are enhanced by having loved ones around for many more years, your career will be enhanced by having more patients in your workplace for more years.