According to the Institute of Medicine, 80 percent of nurses will need a BSN by 2020. Furthermore, the amount of nurses with a doctorate will need to double. The rationale is that nurses will be the ones best suited to fill major staffing gaps.

In the midst of a global nursing shortage, the demand for skilled nursing is increasing like never before. According to a recent article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, employers are in search of nurses who can take on more responsibility and wear multiple hats. Afterall, nurses aren’t the only shortage experienced in healthcare. There’s a shortage in physicians and therapists as well. Consequently, healthcare employers are targeting nurses with specific attributes and skill sets to help bridge the gap.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities everywhere are competing for top nursing talent and there are things nurses can excel in to build their value with prospective employers. The Affordable Care Act has increased the number of patients being treated in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and according to one nursing official, nurses must adapt to stay abreast with expansion. That means better training and stricter requirements.

“As nurses take on greater responsibility, and as the needs of healthcare organizations continue to grow more complex, the skills and training requirements of nurses must be prepared to match this growth,” says Betty Nelson, Ph.D., RN, and academic dean for University of Phoenix School of Nursing in the article.

Nelson thinks nurses will play a vital role in the future; the shortage of physicians will demand more skilled nurses with advanced education. The following is a list of attributes the article states will be most desired by employers looking for nurses:

* Additional degrees or seeking an advanced degree

* In-demand skills such as bilingualism, leadership and critical thinking

* Flexibility and professionalism

* The desire to grow into advanced practitioners such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants

* Specialized training for working with various populations

* An openness to diverse opportunities in a number of different facilities

What does this mean to you? Continuing your nursing education has never been more important. Whether you’re working full-time at a hospital or other healthcare facility, or traveling, you really should be taking advantage of any continuing education initiatives offered by your employer.

If you’re currently employed full-time out of college, ask your employer about opportunities to continue your nursing education. And if you’ve dived into travel nursing, so many travel nursing companies, like Tailored Healthcare Staffing, offer real opportunity to continue your education.

What do you think about this prognosis for nurses? Nurses are already being overworked at troubling rates, but does the opportunity for more autonomy and authority make you excited or exhausted? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.