Working as a medical professional is a challenging, dynamic and exciting career. As anyone involved in healthcare can tell you, being a nurse means dealing with change. That change can come on the minute-by-minute basis of an ER or a patient-by-patient basis. Either way, policies and procedures are constantly in flux. Nurses must evolve with the times, adapting to new methods and ways of collecting data, new practices, and new standards of care.

The nursing field in particular has seen shifts the past few years, with more incorporation of technology into the job, a more diversified workforce consisting of a greater percentage of nurses from outside the country, and the growing popularity of the evidence-based practice model of clinical care. In this article, we’ll go into some of the nursing trends seen in 2018, as well as some of the ones predicted for 2019.

2018 Trends in Nursing

According to Skilled Nursing News, a number of trends predicted for 2018 involved where and how nurses work, from an emphasis on regional institutions over major hospital chains to changes in skilled nursing facilities like nursing homes.

A More Personal Approach

The article focused mostly on senior care facilities, but some of the changes it outlined could be applied to the profession as a whole. It argued that smaller, regional nursing homes could provide more focused care to their residents and be better attuned to what they needed. The article also mentioned a shift toward “small house” style clinics that felt more like hotels than facilities. Patients in these places want a more personable environment, and providers are changing to allow that.

In the nursing field at large, more of an emphasis is being placed on education in “soft skills” and emotional intelligence than ever before. One article on hiring trends in the nursing world noted that nurses want more opportunities for professional development in both the clinical and emotional aspects of the job.

Compensation and Culture

The gap between compensation and workplace culture is also predicted to shorten by the end of 2018. More people entering the nursing workforce will expect both good compensation and a supportive work environment. Previously, compensation was deemed more important, but culture seems to be catching up. Hospitals are being expected to make a shift toward providing competitive wages and a more reasonable work-life balance for their employees.

Factors that make up a desirable workplace culture include:

  • Autonomy
  • Pride in one’s work
  • Finding one’s job meaningful
  • Having good relationships with coworkers

The balance of power in the hiring process is predicted to shift toward those entering the workforce, who will have the ability to be more selective in the positions they choose. Candidates who don’t want to be tied down to a single location, for example, could choose a career in travel nursing.

Technology

Technology continues to be a vital part of the healthcare field, and its makers are continually trying to adapt it for the best use. In nursing, that will likely mean technologies that make it easier for nurses to gather data on their patients and make decisions regarding their care more efficiently. This in turn could help streamline the channels of communication, avoiding repetitive messages. It would also let nurses spend more time on patient care.

Improvements in nursing tech driving the industry forward include wireless smart headsets that integrate several older methods of communications, like pagers and landlines, into one device; electronic location services for both patients and equipment; devices that allow a nurse to monitor their patient wirelessly; and “point of care” technology that delivers patient information, such as vitals more quickly.

Education

While an ADN can still secure a position in the nursing field, more facilities are shifting toward hiring people with an undergraduate degree, and it could offer those entering the workforce additional bargaining power. The Institute of Medicine started an initiative in 2010 to have 80 percent of registered nurses (RNs) possess a bachelor’s degree by 2020, citing the increasing complexity of being a nurse in today’s environment. Hospitals hoping to earn magnet status must prove they’re adhering to this plan, and institutions like the Veteran’s Administration (VA) require a BSN to be considered for promotion.

2019 Trends in Nursing

Mobile nurse credentialing app Nurse Backpack listed four trends in nursing practice we can expect to see, and that nurses should be aware of, in 2019 in a recent blog post:

  1. More nurses are needed. With older nurses retiring, a new generation of nursing professionals will be needed to take their place.
  2. The reinvigoration of the Nurse Licensure Compact will mean greater mobility for nurses, as a new version of it will come into effect in 2019. This will allow nurses to move between multiple states without worrying about the need for relicensing.
  3. Being bilingual will become even more of an asset. The population of the United States is diversifying rapidly, especially in major cities. Patient demographics could see a shift as a result, and even knowing bits and pieces of a different language could help nurses communicate more effectively with their patients.