Nurse practitioners (NPs) are poised to play a major role in the quickly shifting landscape of healthcare. It’s an evolution driven by a convergence of factors, including the growing physician shortage, expanding nurse autonomy, and an increase in education expectations.
If you’re a prospective NP, pursuing your online Master of Science in Nursing program can help you meet the educational demands — and prepare you to lead bravely and give shape to some of the top nursing trends in 2019.
Recruiting — and rewarding — advanced practitioners.
Certain organizations are linking the quality of patient services to payment. While healthcare insurance programs such as Medicare reimburse hospitals and doctors for the care they provide to the insured, major payers are associating payment with quality assurance and patient satisfaction measurements.
In response, hospitals and clinics are investing in expert non-physician clinicians and increasing the demand for advanced nursing practitioners from a wide variety of specialties. This has made the pursuit of advanced nursing studies a sound career investment for many students.
The pursuit of advanced degrees has the potential to open you up to high-level positions in nursing — positions that carry more demands. And with more responsibility often comes greater compensation: Certain nursing jobs have seen significant wage increases recently, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earn a median pay of approximately $111,000.
Considering that the BLS also predicts a 31% job growth in the industry between 2016 and 2026, there’s no reason to believe this trend won’t continue.
More nursing graduates are pursuing non-clinical careers.
The versatility of nursing degree programs — especially doctorate-level programs — combined with newly available positions means that many graduates who would have previously taken part in clinical practice are instead exploring alternative career paths.
New Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) grads are becoming hospital administrators, health policymakers, bioinformatics analysts, and college educators.
Some are even deciding to enter in-home practice, as making house calls has several benefits for the patients. Some of these are obvious, such as not having to leave their homes to receive care, which minimizes the potential of infection from hospital-borne illnesses. Other advantages are more complex, such as longer visits and lower patient costs.
In-home care also tends to nurture strong patient relationships. Typically, the same nurse practitioner cares for the same patient, so the nurse practitioner becomes familiar with the patient’s needs.
The nursing trend of in-home practice can also have potentially positive effects in underserved communities, such as remote rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods. In-home practitioners are likely to work more closely with community health workers in the coming years, which could also bring about a positive impact in underprivileged areas.
Modern nurses have increased authority.
An ongoing trend over the past few years has been a push to grant nurse practitioners greater clinical authority.
A looming physician shortage has made nurse practitioners viable alternative primary and preventive care providers. Factors such as an aging baby-boomer population, an increased emphasis on preventive care, and new physicians opting to pursue specializations instead of general practice are prime movers behind this deficit.
Many states have reacted to this shortage by allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe medications and run a clinic without physician oversight. Other states are likely to follow suit. In this climate, a trend shaping nursing since 2019 is that certified nurse practitioners are positioned to take on vital primary care roles previously held by physicians.
Advances in technology are changing the way nurses work.
Technology is causing paradigm shifts in several industries, and healthcare is no exception. Innovations such as portable medical devices and robotic aids are poised to create a more efficient healthcare experience.
If you pursue a role as a nurse practitioner, you can expect to take on a number of technologically sophisticated roles in this new treatment landscape. You can also expect greater and more seamless integration of electronic health records into patient care, including predictive bioinformatics.
Some of the technological advances being developed have the potential to make some aspects of the nursing profession easier. For example, Australian researchers are designing a lifting robot to aid nurses in moving elderly patients with limited mobility.
Employers are creating a more satisfactory work environment.
Like many other clinical positions, nurses often face a high amount of workplace stress. This, combined with other organizational issues, has led to high turnover rates among nurses, contributing to the nationwide nursing shortage.
A growing body of evidence has also shown the direct relationship between nurse job satisfaction, patient outcomes, and hospital success: Happier nurses lead to healthier patients.
These factors are behind a renewed push to reduce long shifts and frequent overtime requirements for nurses. Many researchers and professional organizations also advocate for the implementation of self-governance programs and data-driven staffing.
These types of measures aim to reduce labor costs while also improving the quality of life for staff nurses. A more widespread adoption of these nursing trends shaping nursing since 2019 and other initiatives will hopefully prove to increase nursing job satisfaction and reduce nurse turnover.
Make sure you’re ready for the future of nursing.
The common thread that binds these nursing trends is an aim of delivering high-quality care that improves patient outcomes.
If you’re looking to be at the forefront of achieving these goals in the future, the online Master of Science in Nursing at Maryville University can be a helpful step. Our program offers rigorous coursework while also allowing you the flexibility to fit your studies around busy schedules.
Check out our program, and learn how your education can help you take the next step in your career — and prepare for the trends shaping nursing in the years to come.