10 major changes in nursing in the past 10 years
Much has changed in the nursing profession during the decade that the Boston Globe has been publishing the Salute to Nurses. Heres a sample of whats new and different in the field.
1. The Go-To Person: Nurses are playing an expanded role across the healthcare spectrum as hospitals expand, telehealth makes home care more feasible, and a shortage of primary care physicians continues.
2. Nurse as Advocate: Nurses have seen that what happens in Washington does affect their professionand that they can influence decisions on Capitol Hill. More nurses are involved with Congress and decision makers, and are helping to shape the healthcare debate.
3. Smart Training: The first two years of a nurses career can be tenuous ones, with a high drop-out rate. Nurse residency programs, with intensive on-site training and mentorship, have helped stem early turnover.
4. Shortage Abates: As the nursing shortage abates, new graduates are broadening their search geographically and clinically.
5. Zoning In: Nurses specialists are in particular demand as patient educators, leaders of multidisciplinary teams, and in units such as newborn intensive care, critical care, and emergency and recovery rooms.
6. Demographic Change: The tsunami of nurse retirement slowed during the recession as baby boomers hung onto their jobs, but gradually the ratio of older RNs is shifting to a younger work force.
7. Mums the Word: As nurses protect patient privacy under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules, they are learning to be more vigilant about the sharing of confidential information.
8. Digital Mindset: The boom in information technology has meant that nurses are becoming adept at informatics and adapting to the changing workflow it has created.
9. No Place Like Home: Nurses are transitioning out of acute care hospitals to work in community settings, and home care nurses are monitoring patients from afar, as technology enables care in homes and not hospitals.
10. Virtual Aids: Simulators are aiding in training nurses in the skills they need in clinical practice.