At the end of each year, there are changes predicted for the following year in terms of the health care industry. Jennifer Flynn, CPHRM, Vice President of the Nurses Service Organization (NSO), gave us information on the top three trends that will shape the nursing profession in 2022.
You’ve identified 3 trends you believe will shape the nursing profession in 2022: Staff Shortages, Travel Nursing, and Telehealth. Why are these three the most prevalent?
We’ve seen constant change in the health care industry. And, never more so then in the last two years. These trends in nursing have great benefits for the facility and the patient, but may increase liability risks for nurses.
While telehealth has its benefits: patients have increased access to care, and they manage some chronic conditions better, especially where remote patient monitoring replaces many routine in-person visits. Telehealth saves patients’ time of travel and waiting in the office which, some studies have shown increases their overall satisfaction.
For nurses, telehealth does provide more flexibility at a time that is most convenient for patient and nurse. However, there are some parts of telehealth that can increase a nurse’s liability risks, such as, providing care to those patients where visits must be in-person. Clinically speaking, you can’t perform all nursing functions virtually, but nurses need to know which patients must be seen in-person versus virtually. Nurses needs to be aware of which patients have barriers to virtual care. While broadband connections are improving, not every patient has access to a good connection. Lastly, licensing laws and reimbursement may limit a nurse’s ability to practice across state lines or be reimbursed for telehealth services. It is the responsibility of the nurse to know the rules of telehealth in their state.
For some, travel nursing is a dream job enabling you to see the country while still enjoying the rewards of providing treatment and care to patients. For others, the endless adjustments of unfamiliar environments may make it not the right career choice. As with any job, there are pros and cons. Some liability risks nurses face with travel nursing are: the constant learning of policies and procedures at each new facility and assignment–though you may be contracted with a particular unit during your travel nurse experience, you may find yourself in even further unfamiliar territory when you have to float to another unit.
Many facilities will send the travel nurse first to float to an understaffed unit, again, learning the policies and procedures of that floated assignment. Lastly, you will need to check your licensing laws–travel nurses may have to have multiple licenses in order to practice. And, each state where you work will require you to hold an active and unrestricted license for that state.
Safe nurse staffing is essential to both the nursing profession and to the overall delivery of treatment and care. Adequate staffing levels ensure better care for patients and reduces nurse fatigue, prevents burnout, and increases patient satisfaction. However, inadequate nurse staffing can endanger patients. Research shows that shortages and inadequate staffing are linked to higher rates of infections, patient falls, medication errors, and even mortality. This is because nurses have too much work to juggle and cannot spend enough time on each patient, resulting in missed care. While staffing was a topic of discussion well before the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the nursing shortage in the United States. Nursing leaders say nurses are tired and frustrated from being asked to work overtime. Some are even considering leaving the profession. Safe nurse staffing affects the ability of all nurses to deliver safe, quality care in all practice settings.
As 2019 winds to a close, several issues in the nursing industry remain prominently in the news and in the ongoing conversation around nursing as a profession.
What are some of the top issues of 2019 that will carry over into 2020?
80 Percent in 2020
The next year marks the end goal time period for the 2010 Future of Nursing report by the Institute of Medicine that called for 80 percent of registered nurses to have BSN credentials by 2020. According to the Campaign for Action, the ambitious goal won’t be met, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made a difference. The recap says that RNs with a BSN are at the highest percentage ever with 56 percent having the degree. That’s a seven percentage point increase since the initial report was issued. Even though the goal hasn’t been realized, there’s progress and that bodes well for the entire nursing industry.
Violence in the Workplace
The rate of violence against healthcare workers is skyrocketing. The thought of healthcare providers helping people and becoming targets of violent acts from patients and their social circles, disgruntled workers, or even random perpetrators is terrifying. Luckily, the government has recognized the problem and introduced H.R.1309 – Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act to require organizations to develop and implement plans to protect workers. This bill passed in the House in November and is now under consideration by the Senate.
There is a lot of media attention on a projected nursing shortage over the next decade. As Baby Boomers continue to age and require more healthcare services, nurses will be a big part of that picture. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI) the nursing workforce is also aging, spurring a shortage as it also provides a fantastic job market for nurses of almost any specialty. The issue will continue to attract attention.
Given the topics that are prominently in the news about nursing, it’s no surprise that nurses experience sometimes crippling job stress and burnout. When there aren’t enough nurses to care for a rising number of patients with increasingly complex conditions, the stage is set for nurses taking on too much. When that happens, their physical and mental health can suffer and that means patients aren’t getting the best care possible. This topic garners lots of attention by nurses themselves and by the organizations who recruit, hire, employ, and want to retain them.
Nursing as a Vibrant Profession
Nurses have professional pull. Routinely ranked as the most trusted profession, the nursing industry enjoys good salaries, opportunities for professional growth, respect, and increased independence. As an industry, nursing is committed to a more diverse, more educated, and more representative workforce and takes steps to meet those goals.
With 2020 on the doorstep, let’s see how these topics gains team in the next year.
Nursing Now is organized by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, a UK-based charitable trust. As nurses’ status increases, their influence will be felt in policy, reputation, and the status of the professional nurse. Nurses themselves can begin to tackle some of the biggest challenges that are facing humanity in the next century.
No matter what location nurses practice, they face similar challenges. They want the best opportunity and training to offer their patients top-notch care so they can lead better and healthier lives on their own and within their communities. Nursing Now will push for those changes, but nurses will see them happen slowly in their own communities and then on a broader national level before becoming a worldwide trend.
The launch is the first step in an initiative that runs through 2020. Nursing Now will support other programs around the world and hep nurses become more able to influence the ways in which they work and effect change with patient and community health.
1. Greater investment in improving education, professional development, standards, regulation and employment conditions for nurses.
2. Increased and improved dissemination of effective and innovative practice in nursing.
3. Greater influence for nurses and midwives on global and national health policy, as part of broader efforts to ensure health workforces are more involved in decision-making.
4. More nurses in leadership positions and more opportunities for development at all levels.
5. More evidence for policy and decision makers about: where nursing can have the greatest impact, what is stopping nurses from reaching their full potential and how to address these obstacles.
Nursing Now recognizes that global change begins as people work together in each and every community. As nurses band together for change, the momentum will grow and impact greater people and reach into higher changes.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Nursing will host with United States launch event, and nurses will be able to check the main website throughout the day to learn about other events worldwide.
On February 27, check out Nursing Now and envision and even stronger and more influential nursing future.
A recent poll has once again handed nurses nationwide a reason to celebrate this holiday season. For the 15th year in a row, the nursing profession has been ranked as the most trusted in a long list that includes everything from senators to college teachers.
In the recent Gallup poll, 84% of Americans polled rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as high or very high, besting other professions. By comparison, pharmacists earned the second spot on the list with a 67% in the same category and members of Congress came in at the very bottom with 8% of respondents ranking them as high or very high in the ethics category.
In general, those in professional health care fields were seen as more honest and ethical than many other professions. Medical doctors earned a 65% and dentists earned a 59% rating.
Gallup first held this poll in 1999 and nurses have topped the list every year since then except for one. In 2001, firefighters were included on the list in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and they came out at the top of the list.
It’s no surprise to nurses that they are at the top of the rankings. Nurses have always been advocates for their patients and have the patients’ well being and interests as their top priority. In addition to holding a common outlook, nurses in the field are well prepared in school to tackle dilemmas they might never have expected. There are nursing codes of ethics to uphold, confidentiality to protect, and a sense of duty and a responsibility to do what’s right that nurses share.
In nursing school classes in ethics examine tricky situations nurses might encounter in a real scenario. With all that training, even the newest nurses are ready to handle themselves with the highest level of professional conduct.
Congratulations to all you hard-working nurses on this important recognition. Ranking as the top profession for honesty and ethical standards is something to be proud of in the new year!
When nurses talk, there’s no doubt they share some humor or stories that someone who’s never been a nurse just won’t get. But nurses don’t always have a chance to talk shop and swap stories. Even rarer are the times when they can dig more and share their deepest thoughts about this unique profession.
A nurse retreat offers all that and more. Nurse retreats are a professional development course, therapy session, and spa weekend rolled into one.
According to Jan Landry, co-founder of The Sacred Art of Nursing, nurse retreats can help nurses refill their well. “Our hope in retreats is to give nurses a mindful approach to nursing care,” says Landry. “Retreats offer skills and self care.”
Retreats are for nurses of all practices. Whether they have been nursing for one year or 40 years, have been an ER nurse or in management, retreats are a way to come together and be with like-minded people. “There’s something that happens when a group of nurses get together and share deeply from their hearts,” she says.
What can you expect at a nurse retreat? All retreats are different, but many share the same goal of talking about the journey of nursing, and what that means to personal and professional growth. The experience of talking with nurses from so many different backgrounds helps normalize what many nurses feel about their jobs. It’s not always easy being a nurse and it’s certainly something that is life-changing on a day-to-day basis. Although many outside the profession don’t “get it,” fellow nurses do.
“Nurses talk about the inspirations and challenges,” says Landry. “They talk about the things we all experience but never talk about. There is the safety to name some of that and share the humanity of nursing.”
And, like any retreat would suggest, there’s time to just rest. “One thing we noticed when we had our retreats is that nurses were really tired when they arrived,” says Landry. Being able to come together with other nurses away from a professional environment gives the conversations about nurse bullying, the generations of nurses working now, or even the challenges of certain types of nursing an opportunity to expand to everyone present.
“Some of our sessions are lighthearted and poignant,” says Landry, “and sometimes something only a nurse could understand.”
And Landry hopes nurses who go on retreats are able to take away a new perspective and a sense of renewal. “It’s a real honoring of the incredible work nurses are doing,” she says. “I hope they are taking away a deeper respect for themselves, other nurses, and the nursing profession.”
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