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Healthcare Heroes: Nursing Trends in 2021

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The year 2020 has taught us one thing, and it is that the future is unpredictable. The disruption the healthcare industry has experienced was completely unexpected. Still, some critical things remained constant, such as the need for nurses. Nurses are essential to the medical industry, and it is clear that we need more nurses now than ever in a world that has changed due to the coronavirus. The COVID-19 crisis has had the most significant direct impact on nurses as compared to any other health crisis. They have been courageous and brave, as well as kind and caring. Indeed, the World Health Assembly declared 2021 the International Year of Health and Care Workers (YHCW), emphasising the significance of addressing their problems and issues. The health care landscape is changing, so nurse needs to keep an eye out for trends that are changing the industry. Read on to find out what to expect in the rapidly evolving world of nursing in 2021. 

Online education programmes

Due to the high demand for nursing care, there is a great demand for higher education. Online education courses, particularly in nursing, are being offered by an increasing number of colleges and universities to make education more pursuable by aspirants. In the face of the current pandemic, nurses are more motivated to pursue higher education than ever. More and more universities are offering online courses for part-time and full-time nurses seeking professional development. Programmes such as post masters nursing certificates programmes allow nurses to earn a higher degree while working full-time, allowing them to upgrade their skills without sacrificing work-related commitments or family responsibilities.  

Telehealth services

Nursing has been transformed by technology, and the results are more efficient than ever. Telehealth and live chat services are two of the most important nursing trends in 2021. 2020 was a year unlike any other, and forced shutdowns compelled many healthcare facilities to move medical care online. They not only digitized aspects of nurses’ roles, but they also allowed patients to monitor their health better. From video appointments to offering prescriptions to getting test results more quickly, telehealth improved nurse-to-patient communication and helped patients achieve better access to healthcare. According to a report, telehealth appointments increased by 154% in March 2020. The global coronavirus epidemic has increased the demand for virtual health care. As a result, telehealth and chatbot services will remain the standard practice in 2021. 

Travelling nurses

Last year demonstrated how much our society relies on travelling nurses to meet changing demands. Thousands of nurses flocked to COVID-19 hotspots to assist with the increasing patient volume. As long as healthcare facilities and hospitals need to be staffed, travel nursing, part-time nursing, and other types of contract work will continue to grow in popularity. Travel nurse’s projects usually last few weeks to several months by sending nurses to work in any country where they are licensed. On the other hand, per diem nursing is generally created under much shorter contracts. Employment is usually designed to fill short-term staffing shortages or provide additional services in busy times, particularly during pandemics. Through the improved NLC (Nursing License Compact), nurses can obtain one or more state licences that can be practised in several states. 

Become technologically savvy

New health care technologies enter the market every day. Nurses need to adapt to these techniques to improve patient care. Technology has been introduced to improve accuracy while maintaining clinician satisfaction and the patient’s experience. Present and future nurses are expected to remain updated on essential technologies. Information related to treatment and acquisition of patient information can be computerized, saving both health experts and patient’s time. As per the Zebra Technologies study, the percentage of nursing staff using smart applications in their practice will increase from 65 to 97 percent between 2017 and 2022. According to the same study, mobile technology can bring down costs, continue improving quality of care, and enhance patient safety. Nursing technology continues to advance, and nurses will need to become more comfortable and confident with it as time goes on. 

Increased specialisation

As the healthcare sector evolves, there is a greater demand for nurses with particular specialisations. Nurses who choose to specialise will find that increased demand can often dictate higher salaries, and it also opens the door to career development opportunities. Nurses with professional qualifications and extensive experience in the area have demonstrated their ability to treat these specific conditions and care for particular groups of people. It can lead to better treatment quality and health results. There are numerous extensive specialties in which nurses can specialise in 2021.

Bottom line

These are some of the most recent nursing trends, and all nurses must keep an eye on them as the situation evolves. This decade will change not only the pattern of the nursing industry but also the pattern of the entire healthcare industry. These trends in the nursing sector will continue to influence how the industry will develop and shape 2021 and beyond. Following these trends, we expect nursing to become a more appealing career option over the next year.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.

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