From bandaging children after a fall on the school playground to working bedside in the ICU, nurses are there when we need them most. Often referred to as the “backbone of healthcare,” nurses have an obvious and unmatched impact, providing care and compassion to patients of all ages and backgrounds, around the clock. To put it simply, they are real-life heroes.
As the healthcare industry continues to change at a rapid pace, nurses must continue to do the same, albeit while maintaining a high level of care. Here are the top three things shaping the future of nursing.
Continued Needs and Opportunities
The past few years have seen a significant increase in the demand for nurses, a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a continued 6% increase in nursing through 2031, and a staggering 40% uptick in growth for nurse practitioners. The nursing shortage is so alarming that healthcare leaders, local governments, and nursing schools are beginning to collaborate on solutions.
Travel nursing has also surged since 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with hospitals seeking nurses from across the country to care for patients fighting the virus. While travel nursing will continue to play an important role in filling gaps in care, as we see the tail end of this global health crisis, many hospitals are turning back to local, permanent nursing staff, at least when the supply is sufficient. Consistent, steady positions are appealing to many nurses, allowing opportunity for personal stability and community at work.
On top of this, much of the Baby Boomer population is quickly entering retirement, including many nurses who are approaching the end of decades-long careers, opening up even more opportunities and positions within the industry.
Opportunity and job security in nursing is higher than ever, and nurses have quite a few paths—new and old—from which to choose.
Increased Access to and Incentives for Education
For the last decade, the healthcare industry has seen a surge in all types of existing nurses pursuing higher education and achieving their bachelor’s degrees. A recent survey found that almost 40% of healthcare providers require their nurses to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and nearly 80% said they strongly prefer their nurses to have their BSN.
Educational institutions have taken steps to make obtaining nursing education more accessible, including offering rolling admission, additional programs, and more staff to accommodate students. Many are also adjusting their admissions requirements in order to attract new students, some of whom didn’t even consider nursing before, to help combat the nursing shortage.
Registered nurses, for example, who obtain their BSN are almost always rewarded with better job opportunities and compensation. Opportunities beyond bedside nursing become more common, including highly desirable and higher-paying management and nurse educator roles.
Burnout is real, and after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nurses have found themselves ready to switch things up and transition into a new role. Fortunately for them, specialization opportunities are on the rise, with increasing openings available in multiple healthcare settings and divisions. Nursing manager and director roles are in high demand and allow for a chance to test out management and leadership skills. Clinical research organizations are seeking nurses to join their teams as well, with even more opportunities to move into director type roles.
In addition, the introduction of telehealth has created remote work positions and specialization opportunities for nurses seeking to transition out of a traditional healthcare setting. No matter the area nurses may choose, specialized positions typically come with additional benefits including higher salaries and more flexible work options.
Healthcare is always changing, affecting nursing in a number of ways. If you’re ready for a new nursing position, Medix can help. Search our jobs and speak with a recruiter today.