2020 was a year of total uncertainty. But from the ashes, rose a new age of healthcare advancements and technologies.
Without the dedicated nurses, doctors and porters, working endlessly across the globe to help those suffering during the pandemic, plenty more lives could have been lost. But, COVID-19 also highlighted the huge lack of nurses available in comparison to the high demand.
So, while more and more people choose nursing as a pursuable career or consider it as a second career in later life, these are just some of the trends and advancements you can look forward to when becoming a healthcare professional.
Online Nursing Degrees
Online courses have become incredibly popular over the past few years, and with University campuses closing their doors for the majority of last year, more and more prospective students are looking at gaining their qualifications online.
Online courses are perfect for those looking to pursue a second career, as they offer the flexibility to be study while working or managing childcare. Studying online allows those who live further afield to get the same standard of education as those living in prestigious cities and towns. They are also a much more affordable way to study with plenty of funding programs available to help.
While most of the course is studied online, students will be offered support to gain in-job clinical experience alongside their studies. In fact, the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) course at Marymount University guarantees all their students a clinical placement that suits them.
Increasingly Good Pay
In 2018 it was estimated that nurses earnt an average annual salary of $75,510. That figure increased by $2,000 in 2019, showing a great trend for nurses’ salaries in the future.
It is also worth mentioning that the US average salary across all occupations is $53,000. Meaning nurses already earn $20,000 more than the average working professional.
Great Job Prospects
A lot of nurses are reaching retirement age within the next decade, meaning those looking to start their studies now, will have plenty of job prospects when they graduate.
On another note, the current pandemic has demanded a lot from the nursing workforce. It is time they have a break. Nurses can quickly suffer from burnout if they do not have a supportive team behind them and with the current high demand for nursing, healthcare teams are struggling to have access to the support they need.
This, as well as the number of nurses reaching retirement age, means healthcare teams across the US are on the lookout for fresh new nurses to join their team, and as such, students have great career prospects just about anywhere they land.
Telehealth (or telemedicine) is becoming widely accepted across the world – providing healthcare access to more people than ever before.
One option for telehealth is the use of video technology to treat patients further afield. Patients can now benefit from video call appointments, allowing them to be seen sooner than booking in with their GP.
The increased popularity of this technology has also opened the doors to more healthcare professionals (like nurses and physicians) being able to provide primary care for their patients.
Another version of telehealth allows nurses doing the rounds on their wards to monitor their patients while on the move. Portable screens and automated IV drips have helped nurses prioritize their time between patients accordingly, while still monitoring vitals on the go. As soon as something becomes an issue, the nurse will know immediately and be able to check on their patient quickly and responsively.
More Specialisms Than Ever
If nurses did not have enough job prospects to start with, more and more nurses are specializing to work for specific departments or in more executive roles. These specialisms allow nurses to pursue higher salaries and really make a difference in the healthcare industry.
One specialism which nurses can pursue is Anesthesia. Nurses can become anesthetists with their BSN, two years working in the field and studying their Master’s. As a nurse anesthetist, you can prepare patients for surgery, and provide positive and reassuring support during the process.
Nurses who study to become nurse practitioners often work at their own practice and have more responsibilities than registered nurses.
Support for Nurses’ Mental Health
The mental wellbeing of nurses is often overlooked. Those that offer so much care, attention, positivity and support for the community’s most vulnerable, can quickly suffer from compassion fatigue.
As people become more aware of the mental pressures related to being a nurse, more support is being put in place. Healthcare facilities are working to promote health and wellness, as well as their professional progression, within the workplace. While nurses are more than happy to work overtime or take on additional shifts to support their team members, workplaces need to do more to ensure all staff receive their holidays and have the chance to take regular breaks throughout their working day – without feeling like they are letting the team down.
Moving from remedy to prevention
Many health establishments are now looking at ways to provide a new solution to chronic pain. Rather than dispensing pain medication, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists are working together to understand the route of a patient’s pain, rather than just focusing on how to suppress it. This industry shift is in reaction to CDC (Centres of disease control and prevention) research which shows one of the leading causes of death is overdosing on prescribed medications.
The aim is to reduce the need for long-term prescriptions and to find better ways to treat and cure ailments.
This also means an increased need for nurses within outpatient and community situations, further increasing a nurse’s job prospects out of the traditional facilities like GP surgeries and hospitals.
2021 is a great year to start considering a career in nursing. If you have been touched by the outpouring of help, care and support from our nation’s healthcare providers over the past year, nursing can be a great way for you to give back. With so many technological advancements, as well as focus on nurse health and wellbeing, there is no better time to join the workforce.