Eastern Michigan University announced it will be expanding its curriculum to include an advanced degree in gerontology nursing. The two-year master’s degree course will usually be offered one night a week at the EMU-Livonia campus to cater to working adults.
In an EMU press release Laurie Blondy, associate director of graduate programs and faculty development at Eastern Michigan, said, “In today’s health care environment, nurse practitioners are in high demand. This program was developed in direct response to requests from our students and nurses in the community.”
According to discovernursing.com, gerontological nurse practitioners work with elderly patients by diagnosing illness, conducting exams and prescribing medication. A gerontological nurse practitioner can work at nursing homes, with home healthcare services and in hospice facilities or run their own private practices.
With the addition of this program, EMU now offers its nursing students two different graduate career paths to choose from. Students may choose to apply to either the Primary Care Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Primary Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (NP) track.
Salaries for nurses with master’s degrees tend to be higher than those who have only earned their bachelor’s degree, but many nurses choose to become nurse practitioners for esoteric reasons rather than financial. A nurse practitioner can give a much higher level of care to a patient than a registered nurse can and having an advanced degree can also lead to better hours, shifts and work environment.
Getting an advanced degree in nursing not only gives a nurse the ability to provide better care to patients and higher salary potential, but it also opens doors to supervisory positions in administration that may have not been available without it.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics believes that job growth in the field of nursing should grow by 23 percent by 2016, which provides an excellent career outlook for anyone going into the nursing field.“The job opportunities are numerous. Nurse practitioners work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, community health, urgent care and nursing homes. Depending on where you work, a nurse practitioner can earn from $80,000 to $130,000 annually,” Blondy said in the press release.
The expanding health care system is increasing the demand for nurses with advanced degrees to provide better care for patients and to help administer to health care systems. By adding to its curriculum, EMU is providing its students the opportunity to meet this demand.
Barbra White, OR supervisor of nurses at Livonia Surgery Center, said, “Increasing education improves our critical judgment skills and enhances our ability to evidence based practice.”
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