Nurses are an integral component of the healthcare system. With nursing being voted as one of the most trusted professions in the US and 5th most in-demand profession in the world, it is evident that nurses are essential for the maintenance of a good healthcare system. Since the pandemic, there’s been an evident shortage of nurses. This has created several challenges for nurses as well as given rise to a number of predictions about the future of nursing.
This article seeks to discuss how a nurse’s role, education, and responsibilities are expected to change within the coming future.
1. Increased Number of Male Nurses
There has been a notable stigma around the profession of nursing. Most people believe it is a female-dominated career with very few men playing the part. Previously, this notion had demotivated many men from joining the profession. However, recently with the rise in demand for nurses, there’s been a significant increase in male nurses. This increase is only predicted to rise, and more male nurses are expected to join the field of nursing.
In order to facilitate men, health care units have also offered multiple incentives. Firstly, male nurses may be offered better pay than female counterparts. Additionally, this career line is highly stable and serves as a sure-shot method of employment which only increases its preference amongst men. The increase of male nurses in demand is beneficial in many ways. Not only does it strengthen the workforce, but it also allows for greater diversity in the work field.
2. Nurse Shortage and Demand
According to statistics, the profession of nursing is under a great crisis of staff shortage. A survey conducted by researchers at Emory University concluded that there are over 418,679 RNs who left their profession in 2018, causing a great deal of nurse shortage. As of today, the number of nurses leaving their jobs has only risen, and this trend is likely to continue unless appropriate steps are taken to combat it. There are many reasons nurses tend to quit their jobs. Of these reasons, burnout is the biggest factor that causes nurses to leave their jobs. Due to the demanding nature of nursing, RNs are more likely to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, which leads them to quit as soon as the first year they start working.
Another reason there’s a considerable shortage of nurses is due to the lack of job satisfaction. Often nurses are assigned non-value-adding tasks that do not make use of their clinical skills. These tasks can be anything plain, like organizing cabinets or storing patient files. The idea behind this is that these ordinary tasks stop a nurse from doing what they were meant to do. This can be demotivating and serve as a reason for resignation. The shortage of nurses is a serious issue as there is a rapidly aging baby boomer population that needs immediate care and that too quickly! The shortage is only made worse due to Covid, since the global pandemic, the demand for nurses has increased more than ever. Without enough nurses, clinical units are more likely to be burdened, which creates a possibility of errors and poor patient management.
3. Importance of a Higher Education
In order to excel in their careers, nurses may be expected to pursue higher education. Several options can be taken into consideration. After a bachelor’s degree, nurses can opt for a doctorate in a specific discipline, a doctorate in nursing practice, or a doctorate in nursing education. In the future, nurses will likely be required to pursue higher education before they can start practicing. Considering the challenges presented by Covid, there has been a need for quality nurses. Therefore, it may even become a standard practice for nurses to pursue additional degrees after graduation.
The reason hospitals emphasize the need for higher education is that with increased exposure to clinical scenarios, a nurse’s critical thinking skills are enhanced, which in turn leads to better delivery of quality health care. With more experience in patient management, nurses are more likely to do better at their jobs. Overall, this leads to better patient care, professionalism, and lowered hospital costs.
4. Incorporation of Technology
With the progression of time, the use of technology is becoming highly widespread. Likewise, medical technology is no less of an exception. In order to optimize patient care, enhance accessibility and reduce the need for labor, many hospitals and clinics utilize technological-based aid. Some examples of these applications include telehealth, smart pacemakers, or data storing software. In the near future, nurses are expected to be more compliant in terms of using these technological tools.
The involvement of technology also creates more opportunities in terms of career. Nurses can specialize in job titles that combine nursing and IT. Some of these job options include clinical analysts, informatics specialists, and informatics coordinators. Overall, the use of medical technology is guaranteed to lessen the burden of nurses and improve healthcare standards.
5. New Leadership Roles/Opportunities
More nurses may be encouraged to pursue courses that focus on the leadership skills of a nurse. Since there is a growing demand for nurses, there is an equal demand for nurse leaders, managers, or administrators. These specialties are likely to offer better pay and serve as a great means to enhance a nurse’s clinical experience. Therefore, it is likely that in the near future, most nurses will opt for leadership-oriented degrees.
Becoming a nurse leader is beneficial because it looks great on a CV as well. Generally, it is the job of a nurse leader to supervise the nursing team and ensure a top-notch standard of healthcare. These responsibilities are highly in demand and provide a means of easy employment.
To conclude, the future of nursing is likely to change in many aspects. Other than the incorporation of technology and the increase in male nurses, there is a general prediction that nursing will evolve for the better. There are also predictions about new career opportunities joining the line as nursing practices advance. Some of which include clinical analysts, coordinators, and leaders.