The healthcare industry is constantly undergoing various changes and transformations, pandemic or no pandemic. But now, the entire medical landscape has evolved drastically and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The sector has realized the importance of contingency planning to battle biological disasters like the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside this, many loopholes and gray areas need addressing immediately, especially on a global level. Healthcare leaders are urging their communities and medical facilities to follow mandatory precautions and remain steadfast. Amidst these disruptions, nurses are playing a commendable role in keeping the healthcare industry intact. Many nursing trends of today are noteworthy, primarily given how they will influence this sector in the post-pandemic era.
And that’s what we’ll discuss in this article. Let’s shed light on some trends of the nursing industry and how they will impact the healthcare sector in the post-Covid-19 era.
1. Online nursing programs
A decade ago, the primary concern of medical institutes was to tackle the multiple challenges nurses face in the industry. And among them, one of the key challenges was that almost half of the nursing population didn’t have a BSN degree. Many states passed strict laws that required a nurse practitioner to possess a BSN degree to increase the percentage.
Given this critical mandate and the rising demand for nurses, educational platforms are now creating ways to accommodate aspiring students. eLearning is becoming a preferred option among nurses seeking to attain higher degrees while fulfilling their job responsibilities. Many nurses who strive to secure senior leadership roles are also making the most of online learning mediums. However, most of them often ask this one crucial question: Can you get a doctorate in nursing online? The answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ especially given the increasing demand for skilled nurses in the research sector. It allows nurses to pursue higher education and progress in their careers without having to sacrifice their work.
2. Increasing demand of family nurse practitioners
As the aging population increases tenfold, the demand for healthcare workers such as primary care physicians and family nurses is rapidly rising. An Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) research states that the United States will face a shortage of 55,200 physicians by 2032. Given this fact, family nurses will be in high demand. Especially in states that allow family nurse practitioners to practice full treatment authority, the need for FNPs will proliferate.
Apart from the aging population, the closure of hospitals in rural areas also causes an increased demand for nurses. As rural areas suffer from an insufficiency of healthcare providers, nurse practitioners fill in the gap left by physicians. Family nurse practitioners perform check-ups, physical exams, diagnoses, etc. It helps fulfill the primary care needs in rural areas, giving critical patients enough time to get the specialized care they need.
3. Higher earnings
In 2019, the average yearly salary of a nurse practitioner was $73,300. However, RNs working in hospitals earn even more than that. In 2020, the pay hiked to $111,680 per year, and we expect it to grow further in 2021.
If you compare all the occupations and their initial salaries, you will find that an average worker makes around $71,456. Comparatively, nurses earn up to $40,000 more than an average worker. As nurses’ salaries will increase in 2022 and onward, more and more nurses are joining the workforce because of lucrative earning potential.
While rising demand and shortage seem like similar problems, they are not. The increasing demand for nurses is due to the population’s ever-rising need for healthcare services. However, a nursing shortage occurs due to extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting nurses today. At the top of this list stands an alarming issue that many nurses are retiring soon. We can expect up to 1/3 nursing workforce to retire in the next decade. Apart from that, turnover rates and burnout cases among nurses are increasing given the stress and problems of Covid-19.
In the past, people weren’t too keen to acquire healthcare services through telehealth. Most people preferred to visit their primary healthcare provider in person and didn’t feel virtual services could adequately help them. But given the unexpected arrival of the pandemic, the world is accepting telehealth as a reliable option.
Besides, given its accessibility, patients can consult with nurse practitioners to overcome minor problems instantly. It diminishes the need for travel time and other expenses and proves tremendous for minor emergencies. This aspect puts the patient at ease, increasing their trust in telehealth services.
6. Nurse specializations
Registered nurses have the option to work in clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. But that is not all there is to nursing. If a nurse opts to specialize in a particular area, they can benefit from various lucrative career opportunities. Some of the top nursing specializations include nurse researchers, pediatric nurses, nurse care managers, midwives, etc.
Nurses are undeniably the most critical workers of the healthcare industry worldwide. Today, however, their role is not limited to serving as assistants to physicians and doctors. The changing landscape of the healthcare industry is paving the way for significant transformations in the nursing field. Many nurses are aspiring to take on leadership positions by continuing further education. Alongside this, the shortage of nurses is creating more vacant opportunities for nurse students. These are merely a few trends of the nursing field. However, they hold tremendous power over the entire healthcare sector.