At its core, nursing has always been about patient care. The profession was once significantly dominated by women, with nurses serving as assistants to male doctors. It was mandatory for them to dress in white, such as white stockings and white hats. However, things have changed now to a great extent.
In many ways, contemporary nurses do not subscribe to conventional practices. They have become highly skilled. Many nurses would even argue that they are the backbone of the healthcare industry, all thanks to the changes that have taken place in the nursing profession over the years. Let’s take a look at the factors that have played a vital role in the evolution of nursing.
Nursing education is hands down the most significant change in the past ten years. While more universities offer specialized degrees, training has become more complex and formalized. At the same time, education has become more accessible.
Schools have made it easier to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). They have developed more accessible ways of acquiring degrees via online programs and flexible schedules. Online programs offer advanced degrees as well. So aspiring Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can enroll in accredited online MSN programs while still working as full-time nurses. With higher education, nurses can now also step into leadership and entrepreneurial roles and independent practitioners. This is a change in the career path that nurses 50 years ago could not have imagined.
The nursing profession and healthcare are undergoing exciting changes, owing to the increasing technological footprint. Hospitals are integrating traditional multiple communication methods into one seamless system. As a result, the badges and headsets nurses wear enable them to communicate in real-time with colleagues. These systems can notify them during an emergency and help automatically upload patient data to EMR systems. Additionally, wearable technology enables nurses to scan barcodes on patients’ beds to extract real-time information.
Like other industries, wearable tech gadgets are the latest buzzword in the nursing sector. We have put together a list of popular wearable nursing technologies that account for unprecedented efficiency:
- Wearable notepad: Nurses love to take down notes. That is where a wearable notepad comes in handy. It can be worn on your wrist, just like a watch. That way, you never forget any important details. This writing device is lightweight and perfect for nurses.
- Vein finder: This device is precisely what it sounds like. Sometimes, finding a vein becomes quite tricky for nurses, leading them to put in extra effort and waste a lot of time. A vein finder can make this nursing job a lot easier. The best thing about this gadget is that it can help you find veins of both kids and grownups.
- Ampule crackers: Back in the day, nurses would open the ampules with their hands. It exposed them to a variety of risks such as cuts and infections. Besides, the expensive contents of an ampule can get contaminated by tiny glass fragments if you open it with your hands. Modern-day nurses can keep all these issues at a safe distance by using ampule crackers or openers.
Unlike in the past, nursing is no longer a solely care-taking profession. Nurse responsibilities have been stretched by the current education and training system. According to a credible study, over 3,000,000 nurses are qualified to provide patient care, act as patient advocates, and lead health care teams in the USA alone. They can also research to improve patient care. The current breed of nurse practitioners can provide many of the same services as physicians.
Thanks to medical advances and changing patient needs, nurses can practice in many different areas. There are many options for nurses, including dermatology, rehabilitation, and emergency. Advanced practice registered nursing encompasses some of the most sought-after specialties.
The reason being, advanced practice registered nurses have at least a master’s degree. They can practice as nurse anesthetists, nurse aides, or clinical nurse specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists will increase by a staggering 26 percent by 2028. This increase is six times more than the average growth rate across all occupations.
Because the U.S. has no primary care services, the employment prospects for nurse practitioners are exceptional. Because of the shortage of doctors and an aging population, there is a shortage of primary care providers. Medical experts believe that nurse practitioners are best qualified to address this problem. It is because nurse practitioners can provide primary care both independently and in collaboration with other healthcare professionals.
There are many areas that nurse practitioners can specialize. With that said, Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) are the most sought-after in the healthcare industry as they see patients of all ages. They are experts in primary care, health promotion, and disease prevention.
In any country, nurses account for a massive chunk of total healthcare workers. They are dedicated professionals who leave no stone unturned to provide the best patient care even when the resources are scarce. The ongoing pandemic stands as a testimony to that. However, nurses would never be able to perform their duties as efficiently if the changes listed above had not disrupted the industry.