Nursing is always changing—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. It’s helpful to step back once in a while and look at of some of the biggest developments in the field to know what’s ahead so you can be prepared to face new challenges and continue to thrive in your nursing career.
More Outpatient Care
Outpatient care is in demand due to a number of factors, including pressure to keep down costs and more effective technologies and treatments that have eliminated the need for overnight hospital stays. Financial constraints, such as high insurance deductibles, have also caused many patients to put off elective procedures. However, these patients often still require extensive medical attention, hence the need for more outpatient facilities and care. Nurses will also find opportunities in outpatient settings such as ambulatory care clinics, rehabilitation centers, and clinics attached to assisted-living facilities, and even telehealth providers.
The Importance of Cultural Competency
At its core, health care is about people, and different people have different needs. That has never been more true in the U.S. health care system than today, when nurses are helping individuals, families, and groups from ever more diverse backgrounds. Nurses who are who are sensitive to the cultural habits, traditions, and beliefs of their patients will be able to provide care that takes these into account. For example, some patients may speak English as a second language, affecting their understanding of directions or medical terminology; patients from certain religions may have dietary restrictions; and some individuals come from cultures where they fare best when they are surrounded by family rather than isolated in a hospital room.
Wellness continues to be a growing issue in health care, especially as organizations move to keep costs down as they improve outcomes. Patients are becoming savvier about maintaining their own wellness, from modifying their diets to wearing trackers that measure their activity levels. Nurses can help by focusing on measures to prevent chronic illnesses such as diabetes, slow down or mitigate the effects of aging on the body via exercise, and improve overall wellness—as well as by educating patients about what further steps they can take on their own to improve their health.
Increasing Consumer Sophistication
Patients are also extremely knowledgeable about where to turn for health information, often doing their own research on the Internet. Consequently, patients may come to appointments with their own possible diagnoses and suggested treatments and medications. Such awareness can be as potentially harmful as it is helpful, forcing nurses to sort through possibly flawed information and incorrect assumptions as they perform health assessments.
The Rise of Nurse Informatics
As technology produces more data, supports better record keeping, and allows for detailed analysis, health informatics has become increasingly important in health care. Similarly, nurse informatics can support evidence-based nursing practice and improved patient care through better data collection, information analysis, easier and faster collaboration between health care professionals, and identification of both large- and small-scale health and patient trends. As they are situated on the front lines of patient care, nurse informaticists are especially suited for playing a greater role in health care planning and decision-making.
Nurses with higher education levels are better prepared to meet the fast-moving and frequently challenging nature of health care today. The online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and online Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Saint Mary provide you with the nursing knowledge and critical-thinking skills required to succeed in today’s nursing environment. To find out more, request more information or call us at 877-307-4915 to speak to an admissions advisor.
“Hospitals Face Closures as ‘A New Day in Healthcare’ Dawns,” Modern Healthcare, February 21, 2015; http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150221/MAGAZINE/302219988
“3 Nursing Trends to Expect for 2016,” Elsevier, December 17, 2015, http://www.confidenceconnected.com/blog/2015/12/17/3-nursing-trends-to-expect-for-2016/
“What Nurses Can Expect for 2016,” Nurses Lounge, January 5, 2016, http://www.nurseslounge.com/home/what-nurses-can-expect-for-2016/
“Current Trends in Nursing,” Supplemental Health Care, May 10, 2016, http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/patient-care-forum/current-trends-nursing-2016