What Changes Should Nurses Expect for their Future in Healthcare?

Future in Healthcare

The healthcare industry has become one of the most important aspects of the economy to take care of. If the events of 2020 are anything to go by, the world can expect more changes to come. There is a greater need for experienced healthcare professionals, especially nurses since there has been a massive increase in the number of hospital admissions since COVID-19 was identified.

Nurses play a vital role in inpatient care. Nurses have been part of revolutionary changes of the 21st century, but let’s have a look at what the next five to 10 years will look like for this profession.

Greater Focus on Technology

Without the technological advancements we have today, many people would still be dying from the common flu and other diseases that have long been eradicated. Every year, new evolutionary procedures and medicines are being designed to combat health conditions, and nurses need to remain up to date. There will be a greater focus on the use of technology to manage patients, and this means nurses will need to become technically competent in a variety of ways.

From managing patient medical records digitally to learning new devices that simplify everyday procedures, technology will be at the forefront of medical advancements. Learning these technologies will take time, and at the rate at which the industry is evolving, nurses will be learning new methods for the rest of their careers.

Nurses Will Be Leaders

More nurses have started taking over the roles of doctors in various ways. Education is changing in such a way that nurses are being taught how to make patient diagnoses, where some are allowed to write prescriptions when they register. Nurses are closer to the patients as they play an active role in their daily care. This necessitates that nursing staff should have more responsibilities, closer to those of a physician. They have a unique perspective and insight into healthcare policy and are the ideal employees to initiate change and innovation.

Public health especially will gain significant awareness in the coming years, and policy is expected to change in favor of nurses taking higher management level positions. The American Hospital Association (AHA) records that nurses make up only six percent of staff on hospital boards. With their knowledge of healthcare services and day-to-day operations, nurses are expected to become figureheads and leaders in the future.

Qualification Requirements Will be Firmer

Up until recently, there have been only three major routes that any prospective nurse can take. This was achieved by obtaining either a hospital-based diploma, associate’s degree for two years, or a four-year BA. By 2022 in America, nurses will be required to have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. This is because the BSN better prepares nurses for more leadership roles. It sets them up to work in a variety of different healthcare settings and focuses on specific skills that allow nurses to make more demanding decisions.

A traditional BSN takes four years to qualify; however, with the increased demand for nurses given the changes in the healthcare industry, many won’t be qualified in time. To fast track this, prospective nurses can take an accelerated course such as Baylor University’s distance ABSN program to learn the clinical experience needed to manage the current demand.

An Overall Shortage Is Evident

The rate at which nurses have been qualifying in the last ten years is down significantly, while the demand for nurses increases. There has only just been an increase in the number of registrations for nursing degrees; however, by the time those students graduate, the U.S will require more than 500,000 nurses. This is just in the next two years, as economists predict that the demand for healthcare services will increase too rapidly for the rate at which nurses are finishing school.

Currently, the AHA has more than 130,000 vacancies for nurses globally. The biggest issue the world faces regarding nurses is that more than half of internationally registered and trained nurses are over the age of 50 and will soon retire. There has always been a shortage of qualified nurses, yet the demand post-COVID-19 has made this an emerging problem that needs to be addressed.

Respect for the Profession Will Increase

Just as a person can become burnt out from working too hard, nurses are susceptible to compassion fatigue. This is the emotional distress due to witnessing sick patients and being around those who cannot help themselves. It’s a common occurrence for nurses, and now more than ever there is a greater sense of respect for what they do. Many nurses had to work extra shifts in 2020 to take care of other people, and globally, nurses showed the world just how valuable they are to the healthcare industry.

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed, and nurses are the future of healthcare. The world is more aware than ever that nurses need to be protected and revered for their profession.

Nurses Will Need to Be Bilingual

In the U.S, 18% of the population is made up of Hispanic people. With immigration on the rise, different nations are entering countries every day that don’t speak the language. Most nurses are expected to know more than one language as it is, and this is most likely to increase. Nurses will be in high demand in low economic and developing countries where a wide array of languages are spoken.

It will become a necessity for nurses to learn more than their mother tongue, with Spanish being one of the most common languages in the Americas. Nurses working abroad will have to identify which languages they need to learn depending on where they are placed.

Nurses are an integral part of the community and there is no doubting the importance they play in healthcare. The industry has been the subject of change for decades, but nurses can expect a lot more progression in the world that will impact their profession in significant ways. From technological advancements to stricter requirements on education, prospective nurses should be prepared for these rising events.

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