Currently, it is estimated that there are roughly 3.8 million nurses practicing in the United States alone. Nursing is an important position that can have a tremendous impact on everyone’s quality of life. Without highly-trained and dedicated nurses, our healthcare system would immediately collapse.
Nursing can be an incredibly rewarding career path. Once you have graduated nursing school, become a registered nurse (RN), and passed any supplementary nursing requirements (such as ACLS, PALS, or BLS certification), you will be ready to begin advancing your career and you’ll quickly find yourself in a position to add value to other’s lives.
Naturally, nursing is one of the most attractive career paths for individuals that are going into college or have recently graduated college (ideally with a degree related to nursing). However, before you want to commit to advancing your career in any particular direction, it will be a good idea to take a brief look at where the industry, as a whole, is moving.
In this article, we will briefly discuss 6 of the ways that the nursing industry can be expected to change over the course of the next decade. By taking the time to understand how the industry is evolving—and to understand what these changes mean for nurses—you will be able to decide if a career in nursing is right for you.
1. Increased Emphasis on Telehealth
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a dramatic impact on essentially every industry, but the healthcare industry has been especially influenced. In response to the outbreak—and the subsequent need to minimize contact with others—telehealth has experienced an increased level of implementation in both the United States and elsewhere around the globe.
While telehealth solutions cannot replace in-person healthcare entirely, it has already proven itself to be extremely beneficial. As one Doctor explained, “So far, patients are giving us really positive feedback on being able to have video visits.” As technology continues to improve, telehealth solutions will continue to expand—something that will not only make it easier for people to access the healthcare they need but can also drive down costs.
2. Extra Emphasis on Information
As we move further into the information era, we have come to witness just how transformational data can be. Inevitably, new data gathering methods have helped improve the healthcare industry, making it much easier for doctors to monitor their patients’ health, make an accurate diagnosis, and also make accurate medical recommendations.
As Bradley University, there are quite a few data-driven components of the nursing sector that we can expect will grow considerably over the next ten years. Some of these positions—including clinical informatics specialists, nursing informatics specialists, clinical analysts, clinical informatics manager, clinical informatics coordinator, and nursing informatics analysts—help blend healthcare and data into a single career.
3. Nursing on Location
Traditionally, the vast majority of nurses would operate in hospitals—personal nursing options, generally, were reserved only for the very wealthy. However, in response to population changes, technology changes, and other trends, nursing on location is now more common than ever before.
There are many different ways that nurses can potentially work “on location” (AKA away from a hospital). This includes at-home aids, individuals working in nursing homes or retirement centers, on-call nurses, and many others. If you want to become a travel nurse then these valuable options may be worth considering. You must have health insurance by your side, and for that, you can consult the professionals of travelnursehealthinsurance.org to help you get the right plan.
4. More Specializations
The human body—and human health—is extremely complex. In response, the number of nursing specialties (and medical specialties in general) has been steadily increasing over time. When compared to non-specialized nurses, nursing specialists typically earn higher salaries. However, they also might need to obtain some additional education.
While it is hard to forecast exactly what the nursing industry might look like 10 years from now, there are some clear trends that aspiring nurses might want to pay attention to. For example, the demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 15 percent by 2030, which is much higher than would be expected. Other leading nursing specialties that we can expect to grow include cardiac nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), clinical nursing specialist, and—with a stunning 19 percent projected increased—critical care nurses.
5. Changing Job Structures
While change in the nursing industry—particularly with regards to benefits—is sometimes slow, there have been some notable developments over the past few years. One of the most notable developments, as many nurses will attest, has been a growing movement to offering more flexible job structures.
Nurses are needed every day, at every hour of the day. If you prefer to have three days off in a row, work night shifts, or work in any way that deviates from the traditional 9-5 structure, you’ll likely find a nursing position that allows you to do so. Additionally, nurses are discovering that they can transition positions and rise in rank much easier than they could in years past.
6. Increased Need for Education and Training
Currently, about 80 percent of nurses have bachelor’s degrees and about 15 percent of nurses have a master’s degree or higher. Nursing is a career that requires knowledge of many different subjects, which is why obtaining a degree as a nurse is something that is considered to be very important. However, even though most of today’s nurses are highly educated, the need for further education is expected to increase. Over the next ten years, the portion of nurses with graduate degrees may grow by as much as 10 percent.
Additionally, some nurses are also anticipating their continuing medical education (CME) requirements might expand as well. Online courses such as ACLS, PALS, and BLS can help ensure nurses meet their mandated education requirements and also have the skills they need to succeed in their position.
Nursing, like most fields, is something that is constantly changing. While we may not know what the future has in store, we can be sure that nurses will play a very important role in it. If you are considering a career as a nurse, be sure to pay attention to the developments mentioned above.