Are you wondering about the future of nursing for 2017 and beyond? Trends and innovations in the medical field initiated revolutionary changes in nursing practice over the past decades. By looking closely to the current trends in nursing practice nowadays, you can catch a glimpse of what the future nursing can turn out to be.
Here are some of the future nursing trends expected to emerge in the next years. Are you prepared to face them in the future?
Increasing Healthcare Demands
With the “Affordable Care Act” (Obamacare), more Americans now have access to healthcare services. As there are now more clients to serve in the healthcare industry, the increase in healthcare demands will result to construction of more healthcare facilities across the country. This trend will provide continuous opportunities for nurses to meet the growing healthcare demands in hospitals and other medical facilities.
The baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, are also approaching their senior years. They are the largest age group that will need continuous healthcare services in the next years.
The Biomedical Technology industry gets better each year with technological advancements in medical devices. Nurses are expected to be skilled in utilizing new medical equipment as they are the primary providers of care to patients. Every year, there are plenty of new technological innovations being released to the medical community and these improvements make patient care easier for healthcare workers.
• High-tech Medical Devices – Portable or handheld medical devices are expected to be the cutting edge development of Biomedical Technology industry in the next years. Nurses are the primary targeted end-users of these devices where designed functions are practically useful at point of care. Development of new diagnostic machines is also underway which will give more options for patients to know their state of health through tests.
• Computer-Assisted Surgery – Robotics is a developing new field in surgery especially in complex operations where fine movement is critical. Although computer-assisted surgery is more expensive than regular surgery, the cost outweighs the risks reduced for the patient. As more complex computer-assisted surgeries become developed in the next years, the need for specialized training is expected to be prioritized among OR nurses.
• Electronic Health Record – In the past decade, different healthcare facilities transitioned to Electronic Health Records. The system continues to be improved over the years and currently, in-patient records are fully computerized. Some hospitals are even starting to use barcoding system in medication administration nowadays. Nurses should expect additional trainings for electronic health record system in the next years.
As baby boomers age, they are expected to utilize healthcare services close to their homes. This trend will call for community-based nursing in the future. Baby boomers are predicted to shift away from institutional care to avail of healthcare services in the comfort of their own community.
The shift from hospital-based to community-based healthcare demands will have a major impact in the future of nursing. Majority of nurses are used to hospital-based practice. Shifting to community-based nursing practice will need adjustments in enhancing skills on independent nursing actions, decision-making and in-depth head-to-toe assessment.
Last 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their projected job growth report until 2022. Nursing is one of the professions with expected 19% job growth in the next years. This means that the RN workforce will increase from 2.71 million last 2012 to 3.24 million in 2022.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report also expects the retirement of more than 500,000 nurses in the next 5 years bringing total RN job openings to more than a million vacancies by the year 2022.
However, the current trend of nursing graduates doesn’t meet the projected job growth of nurses. According to The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, the annual nurse graduates should increase by 30% in order to meet the growing demands for nurses. If annual nurse graduates will not increase in the next years, future nurses will need to be prepared in working extended shifts to patch up understaffing workforce in their areas.
Emerging Nursing Fields
The nursing profession has plenty of sub-fields and nurses can choose the sub-fields of their choice. In the next years, new nursing fields will emerge from the medical innovations being developed nowadays.
Two promising new fields in nursing are the following:
In the recent years, the medical society has had major advancements in the field of genetics. Although there have been issues raised among conservatives, genetic research is expected to be well-developed in the next years. Nurses specialized in this field will be needed in the future especially when genetic sequencing technology is used in in-vitro fertilization.
• Stem Cell
Scientists are still exploring the beneficial use of stem cell technology in the treatment of various diseases. Trials about its efficacy in the treatment of cancer are already underway and it is also being tested in organ rehabilitation.
In the future, stem cell technology is expected to be an important part of the healthcare industry as clinical trials exploring its beneficial use yielded favorable outcomes. Being specialized in the field of stem cell technology is commonly seen as an edge in a nurse’s career since this field is currently limited to research facilities only.
Nursing practice continous to evolve through the years. The future of nursing may look exciting AND scary at the same time but see these coming changes as opportunities. Be adaptable and go with the flow of healthcare innovations. Most importantly, be a good mentor to younger aspiring nurses so you can contribute in strengthening the nurse workforce of the future.
What innovations and changes are YOU looking forward to the most?