In a field as multifaceted and essential as nursing, it is important to stay informed about current trends so that you can provide the best possible patient care. Especially with the advances in technology that occur more rapidly than ever, both health care professionals and consumers experience constant changes when it comes to the practice of medicine. Staying up to date on nursing trends ensures that you are competitive in the job market after you finish your degree. With this in mind, we have put together a guide to current trends to watch in the health care field, and specifically in the nursing profession.
Nurses are helping to improve care for an aging population.
A Shift in Demographics
Recent changes in the U.S. population are significantly affecting both health care priorities and the practice of nursing. Because of progress in public health and patient care plans, the average life span is increasing dramatically. In fact, by 2020 more than 20 percent of the population will be 65 years of age or older, and people over 85 years old will be the fastest growing age group. The health care system is facing the prospect of new challenges because many of these individuals will have chronic and acute conditions. Consequently, this requires changes in both practice and approach.
Student demographics are also changing, as nursing schools are experiencing rapid growth in terms of ethnicity and race. This means that the field of nursing is enjoying a richer cultural environment than ever before. Nursing students are beginning and continuing their education at older ages and therefore bring a variety of life experiences with them. Nursing students are also typically employed in full-time careers and many have families, making flexibility and affordability of their nursing education key focal points.
Health care consumers are now interested in preventative care more than ever. This introduces an environment in which medical professionals work to avoid future medical problems, rather than waiting to treat them when they arise. More money is being spent on preventing illness to avoid the higher costs of treating advanced disease, and a new goal in the medical field is to focus on keeping people well. Healthy people tend to need costly care less often, and as a result there is a shift toward lifestyle modification and “well visits” so individuals can sustain good health.
Today’s nurses need to be adept at the use of technology because of its prominence in the health care field. Technological advances have significantly improved patient care by, among others, increased accuracy in medical records keeping, treatment and diagnosis as well as a reduction in administration time. Nurses use computer technology to access patient information, research treatment options and communicate with patients. Patients can now even contact nurses through their health insurance providers to ask medical questions and address treatment concerns. Advances in technology have also affected nursing education. Distance learning and online classes connect students with faculty, and continued education is more available than ever. Faster and more flexible access to information impacts how nursing research is conducted as well.
A significant nursing shortage exists today. While this is not an ideal situation for the health care industry, it means that now is a better time than ever to continue your nursing education. Doing so allows you to have greater career mobility and greater financial reward. Advanced online nursing degree programs have become more and more popular in recent years, likely in a response to these benefits. Many online programs are entirely Web-based, which means that they feature online lectures, discussions and libraries, with email communication between instructors and students. More than any other nursing trend, this move toward online education is beneficial for practicing nursing professionals. Access to education is more widespread than ever, and the online format provides both flexibility and affordability.
Getting Your RN to BSN at NDC
The RN to BSN online program offered by NDC provides the ideal educational opportunity for registered nurses who want to advance their careers. It is based on a core body of knowledge that includes both the science and art of nursing. This approach ensures that you acquire the skills needed to be as well-rounded as today’s nursing field demands. For more information about our RN to BSN program, visit our Online Programs page.