The future of the nursing profession is very bright. We can only go up and it will be long-term growth. The future of hospitals and nursing homes looks quite grim, glad I don't have a financial interest in any institution. The positive things:
1) The hospital-based diploma schools are dying. More nurses now have college credit for the academic work they've done and can proceed more smoothly and quickly towards higher degrees.
2) In all fifty states, Nurses in advanced practice have some degree of prescriptive authority, title protection and direct reimbursement.
3) Certified Nurse Midwives are carrying 8% of the baby delivering market, Certified Registered Nurse Anethesists deliver 80% of the anesthesia administered in this country.
4) The nursing demographics are now such that most nurses are 45 years old or so, and are mature enough to not have to put up with alot of the shabby treatment that they had to years ago.
5) We have a scientific basis for our practice, an impressive tradition of research and I think about 50 doctoral programs in nursing(Note that these are seated in excellent state-owned and major private universities). We are much better off in this regard when compared to the chiropractic profession which has been struggling with many of these same obstacles to growth.
6) The next steps for us to take occur at the level of the individual nurse. a) 60% of nurses hold the Associate degree in nursing or hospital diploma. They need to move into RNtoMSN programs as soon as possible. b) 60%-80% of nurses still work in instituitions in what can only be described as a share-cropping relationship.
Ya'll, the war is over. The slaves have been freed. Nursing practiced on the plantation-model is sooo last century.
Move forward and encourage others to move forward with you.
Consider entrepreneurship, independent practice, doctoral preparation. Society is very supportive of our profession.
(Hospital administrators and MD's are not)
Look into degree programs offered via the internet. Look into becoming and independent contractor (Visit National Association of Independent Nurses at http://independentrn.com