There are almost 4 million registered nurses (RNs) and nearly 300,000 nurse practitioners in the US. Nursing is an enriching career filled with numerous opportunities that shape you into a capable healthcare practitioner. However, like most sectors, this profession has also undergone many changes. The expanding technology, digitization, and population have shifted the nursing model drastically.
As a result, you can now venture into telehealth, travel as a healthcare provider, or focus on specializing in your respective field. This is an exciting time for you as a nurse since your role is no longer restricted to providing patient-centered care alone and allows you to branch out to do more. Therefore, you must keep tabs on the latest trends determining your career trajectory. To help you out, here’s what you need to know:
Online Education Programs will Become More Popular
Online education has made earning a degree much more accessible, which has made them extremely popular. These platforms allow you to enroll in a nursing program of your choice, offer immense flexibility with your schedule, and give you the skills you need to progress further in your career.
As a full-time nurse, you may not have the leisure to take time off and return to traditional schooling. Likewise, the expense of relocating and moving on campus can put you under financial stress, thereby making online degrees a viable option. If you have had your bachelor’s degree for a while, now is an excellent time to pursue an online masters in nursing and expand your skills. A master’s degree will walk you through a detailed curriculum exploring the clinical and theoretical aspects of patient care.
An Increase in Demand for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs)
Following the pandemic of 2019, the United States is going through an immense shortage of primary doctors. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the US can face a shortage of more than 55,000 primary care physicians by 2030. This is because the population is rapidly aging, and there are not enough professional caregivers to keep up with the workload.
As a result, the nursing body will have to help provide primary care, increasing the demand for FNPs. If you become an FNP, you will have the autonomy to look after patients without needing a physician supervising you. There are over 24 states where you can practice as an FNP independently. This includes diagnosing illnesses, ordering tests, and interpreting lab results.
Emphasis on Mental Health
Being a nurse is hard work. You may have long shifts with little to no breaks in between and feel emotionally drained and physically stressed while trying to keep up with your workload. All these factors can gradually weigh down upon you, causing fatigue and extreme exhaustion.
Once you hit burnout, it may be difficult for you to continue working. According to Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction, in 2021, over 30% of LPNs and nearly 40% of RNs felt very burned out at work. But this is about to change. The healthcare sector is actively working on supporting the mental health of nurses. You no longer have to combat your emotions, anxiety, and fears on your own but turn to many useful platforms for help.
For example, the application Happy will connect you with trained listeners. You can talk to these experts and discuss your everyday problems without judgment. When you have said your part, the listeners at happy will carefully lay down a realistic solution for you to follow. Another application for you to explore is Balance. This is a collection of meditations you can personalize according to your needs. You can plug in anytime you need a moment to relax and unwind from work.
Finally, a Nursing State of Mind is a podcast hosted exclusively by nurses. This discussion aims to highlight common challenges those in the nursing sector face in their career. You will also get tips on dealing with fatigue and stress and pointers on adopting a positive attitude.
Nursing Informatics will Reach New Heights
Nursing informatics is a specialization that combines nursing with analytical sciences to organize, understand, communicate and apply data in a meaningful manner. If you enjoy working as a nurse and want to explore new territories in technology, you should try taking up nursing informatics. Your area of expertise will include:
● Shifting records from paper to digital documents
● Developing an information-based system using evidence-based data to improve the standard of care and maintain this new database
● Analyzing electronic health charts to identify areas where care and costs can improve
● Implementing new healthcare technology apart from electronic health charts can help practitioners to monitor patients, track their health and provide better care
The American Medical Informatics Association estimates that as many as 70,000 nursing informatics professionals will be required for the next decade. There is also a noticeable jump in nurses applying to informatics from 40% to an impressive 60% in the last three years.
Greater Integration of Technology
Healthcare technology has progressed significantly in the last few years. It is now at a point where patient care and digital advancements have started overlapping. Virtual simulation training labs are the most impressive addition to the healthcare sector. These can facilitate you and other nurses to become better at providing care in a more immersive manner. Virtual simulations can create various make belief situations which address different areas of your job.
This includes dealing with critical patients and ensuring that you revive them in time, making critical choices, and reducing the time it takes you to rotate between patients. Additionally, you may get introduced to computer enhancements like laptop carts, which can help you document patient information and look up their details on the go. There are now smart IV pumps also entering the picture, and HIPPA-compliant chats like OhMD are becoming a part of the nursing sector.
As a nurse, your work plays a significant role in patient welfare. So the profession must go through a series of changes to make it a more sustainable field. As a result, new trends will now govern nursing as a career and change how you do your job. This is not limited to increasing demand for online education and degrees, more room for FNPs, and acknowledging the hurdles and mental health challenges you face as a nurse. Other changes have a greater interest in bioinformatics and technology integration to make patient care more effective and much faster to deliver.