According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Overall employment is projected to increase about 14 percent during the 2010-2020 decade with more than half a million new jobs expected for registered nurses.” Because of the increase in need for nurses, many people are considering going back to school to enter this growing field.

Lori Fox-Ward, Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Valence Health, offers some great advice on how you can use your nursing degree to achieve overall career success.

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(Photo Courtesy of Lori Fox-Ward)

(Photo Courtesy of Lori Fox-Ward)

How does your formal education relate to your current role?

“My nursing education and experience in the clinical setting and in various managed care roles has provided me with a greater understanding of the health care delivery system and the everyday challenges faced by providers in caring for patients. Having a clinical background allows me to work with providers on implementing quality initiatives based on evidence-based guidelines, and develop and implement care delivery models that will improve the quality and efficiency of care.”

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How has your education helped to further your career?

“My Bachelor of Science in Nursing has allowed me to develop and advance my career well beyond the clinical setting, and apply my knowledge and experience to many different areas. I’ve had the opportunity to work in the areas of cost containment/utilization management, case management of chronic diseases, development of medical management programs, development of clinically integrated networks, development of quality improvement initiatives, and care management model design, along with exposure to many of the business aspects of developing and managing provider sponsored organizations.”

What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into nursing?

“Nursing can afford endless opportunities to apply clinical knowledge and expertise in health care, well beyond bedside nursing. When I entered college, I thought I would care for patients in the clinical setting for the duration of my career. Through opportunities, I was able to move beyond the clinical setting and gain exposure to many exciting and challenging areas within health care that I never even considered. I advise future nurses to understand that the possibilities are endless in health care today!”

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on