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Trends in Nursing: What to Expect

As the end of the year creeps closer, it might be time to start thinking about next year’s budgeting process. What will you need in terms of additional staffing — and which healthcare jobs will be the most in-demand? 

Like other industries, there are trends in the healthcare world, particularly in nursing. Your facility will want to ensure you’re ready to hire and retain the best and brightest nurses, bringing on board those with the right skills and training to best serve your patients. 

Here’s a look at where the future of nursing is heading so you can be prepared. 

Nurses are in high demand.

This likely isn’t a big surprise, as nurses were among the first and hardest hit with Covid burnout, especially during the early days of the pandemic. Many left their careers altogether, creating a nationwide deficit of skilled nursing staff. At the same time, older nurses have retired or moved into teaching positions and away from direct patient care, further exacerbating the need. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the growth in demand for registered nurses to increase by 9% through 2030, with the growth rate for advanced practice nurses to spike by up to 45% during that same time. If you want to attract nurses, keep in mind you’ll face serious competition from other facilities. 

A return to home healthcare opportunities.

Older patients don’t like the idea of spending their time in hospitals or nursing homes, at least not until it’s unavoidable. The opportunities for home health aids will grow as the population ages in large numbers, meaning nurses will have more options for working outside of traditional medical facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic also escalated this trend, as people with compromised immune systems did not want to risk contracting the virus by going to a doctor or hospital for care. Additionally, home care is a great option for people with mobility restrictions or limits to avoid worrying about proper accessibility. 

Training will transform.

Instead of being trained on mannequins and, eventually, patients, nursing education will go online even more, with artificial intelligence and virtual reality components allowing new nurses to learn from talented instructions from around the world. They can practice techniques in a virtual environment, meaning they can advance their skills without needing a patient to come in with a rare condition or ailment. Partly in response to COVID-19, the National League for Nursing partnered with Laerdal Medical and Wolters Kluwer Health to create a new virtual training program, vSim, specifically for nursing students and trainees, using guided questions and interactive modules to help prepare them for work. The program also helps train nurses in a diverse patient population. 

Take care of your nurses, and encourage them to take care of themselves to improve patient satisfaction.

It’s a well-known piece of advice for caregivers: If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t care for anyone else. Nurses still face burnout in high numbers due to the demanding nature of their careers. Employers should invest in resiliency training and materials to help nurses learn techniques to deal with the stress of their jobs and improve their own mental and overall health. Once again, the long shadow of Covid brought to full attention the strain nurses can be under when stress increases, patient loads increase, and resources are depleted. Many nurses might still feel as overworked and exhausted as they did during the height of the pandemic because they couldn’t step away and take care of their mental health. Wanting to retain nurses will mean embracing a renewed focus on taking care of their health — resilience training is key, but so is sufficient staffing levels and flexibility, in addition to encouraging them to take time off as needed and as permitted by their contract. 

Prepare to pay your nurses more.

Anything that’s in short supply will command a higher price (remember the high cost of a dozen eggs recently?). The same is true for your healthcare staff and nurses in particular. More nurses are needed, but numbers are down; if you want to hire and retain nurses, expect to open the budget up to offer higher salaries and improve their benefits. This goes for traditional, specialty, and travel nurses sometimes used by hospitals during unexpected staffing shortages or higher patient demands. 

Healthcare is an $800 billion industry in the United States, and a considerable portion of that goes toward training, securing, and retaining quality nurses who are willing to provide excellent care while keeping up their skills and certifications. As an employer, you’ll want to be prepared to offer training opportunities to help your nurses stay on the cutting edge of healthcare techniques and practices to provide specialized and personalized care to your patients because their demands will also increase over time. 

If you’re ready to expand your care team, AMEA Healthcare can help! As a staffing agency focused solely on healthcare facilities, we can help find qualified nurses to join your team — quickly. Give AMEA a call today, and let’s get started.

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