Many changes came into the U.S. health care system when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. One of the biggest changes, perhaps not immediately apparent, is the growing and urgent need for more medical practitioners, especially in highly populated areas where many formerly uninsured people are finally gaining access to health care.

Having insurance is a great step forward, but without adequate medical providers, there can still be frustratingly long waits for care.

Nurse Practitioners

In many large, urban areas, there are simply not enough medical doctors to serve the population and all their medical needs. One of the ways those needs are being met is through the service of qualified nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have gone on for advanced, graduate nursing training. They can do many things that a medical doctor can do, including diagnosing sicknesses and prescribing medications in some cases. While they are not meant to replace doctors, various studies have shown that their general quality of care is excellent. In populations that are under-served by doctors, their care can provide good, early intervention for people who are ill and who might otherwise have a long wait to see a doctor.

Online Nursing Master’s Degree

online_degreeMany registered nurses are finding new and creative opportunities to go on for advanced training. With the need for quality nurse practitioners on the rise, it’s important to note that many schools, like Ohio University, are offering online master’s degrees in nursing. The flexibility of online classes means that many RNs, who might have struggled with the decision to go on for an advanced degree because they needed to keep working, can now find a way to fit classes into their busy working schedules. While all the coursework is online, there are of course practical, clinical requirements to be completed as well. Coursework can generally be finished in two to three years.

Online nursing degrees open new doors for nurses. A quick search online shows that many universities and programs are beginning to utilize technology to provide these kinds of educational opportunities. The great news for working nurses is that they can continue to make a living while investing in the future of their careers.