Healthcare is a constantly changing and updating field. With advancements in technology, new care methods, and current world events, the trends hospitals, and nurses need to keep an eye on are changing year over year.
Keeping up on all of the top trends, and knowing how to best prepare for them can be a daunting task. To make the process of finding the biggest trends for 2024, Altus made this list. So you can find them all here in one easy article.
Keep reading for the top 16 nursing trends for 2024.
Trend #1: Nurse shortage will continue
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 28 million nurses worldwide. Yet that number still isn't high enough for patient numbers and needs. As a result, there is a global shortage of nurses, and 6 million more jobs are needed to be filled by 2030 to meet healthcare requirements for all the patients and their needs.
This number will online continue to rise throughout 2023 as well. Many of the baby boomer generations are near retirement age, COVID-19 stunted new potential nurses from gaining education, and as nurse burnout increases, more nurses are leaving the healthcare field as a whole. The ramifications of COVID-19 and the global nursing shortage are felt throughout healthcare and will continue to be felt for the next few years.
Trend #2: Nursing jobs numbers will continue to increase
As the nurse shortage continues to be felt throughout healthcare, the number of nursing jobs available will also continue to rise. With one-third of the current nursing population nearing retirement age, a large number of new nursing jobs will soon open up. These jobs will be in varying levels of experience, allowing a variety to come in.
In addition to the influx of jobs from nurses retiring, there are additional jobs opening up around the country as healthcare systems expand their facilities to accommodate a growing population.
Trend #3: Increased use of online nursing programs
Because of the high demand for nursing professionals, there is high job security in the profession and a high need for further education. As a result, more colleges and universities provide online education programs, specifically in nursing. Online education offers a way for nurses to obtain a degree while working full-time and provides a way for nurses to access higher education set at their schedule and a way to learn even while under pandemic protocols and restrictions.
Trend #4: Nurses will need higher education, focused on BSN degrees
The growth of online nursing programs has not only made higher education more accessible than ever, but also increased to expectations hospitals have for their nurses. Healthcare facilities prefer nurses with at least a BSN, encouraging nurses to seek out higher levels of education.
The number of nursing jobs that will be opening up in the coming years has also led to nurses needing high education. The nurses who are now coming into the workforce are expected to have the same level of knowledge and experience as those who have been in the field. This means they need more education to jumpstart their careers. Higher education, such as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, are also becoming more necessary for those nursing professionals who are looking to have a place in leadership.
Trend #5: The rise of telemedicine
In 2020, there was a shift in how Americans interacted with healthcare due to COVID-19, and that included a massive 20% of medical visits being conducted virtually. There are reports that telemedicine revenue is projected to triple by 2023. The widespread adoption of telemedicine has helped to automate nurse tasks, and offer more accessible patient care, as well as telehealth and chatbot options.
Telehealth technology offers flexibility and allows patients to access their documents and doctors from home, giving them more control of their health care and the ability to feel safe in their homes. Online portals can be filled with test results, prescription refill requests, and appointments. Additionally, doctors or nurses can be accessed with telemedicine equipment to host virtual meetings, saving patients and clinicians valuable time.
Similarly, chatbot services have been introduced to give patients more ownership over their care received. Patients can schedule appointments, set reminders for medication administration, and search for specialists in their area.
Trend #6: Traveling Nurses
The last few years showed how much society needs traveling nurses to meet shifting demands. We saw thousands of nurses pour into COVID-19 hot spots to support the surging patient volumes.
Travel nursing as an industry grew 30% between January and August of 2021. The lure of higher compensation amounts, travel opportunities, and a chance to work in different work environments has influenced the major jump in traveling nurses. With more nurses traveling around the country to help new patients, more nurses have been increasingly interested in the profession, keeping this trend around for years to come.
Trend #7: Increased Specialization and Career Path Options
Healthcare needs are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, the scope of specializations that nurses can practice is widening. With specialization in over 96 areas, including pediatrics, cardiac, and intensive care, nurses can choose a path that suits them. With the growing complexity of healthcare, a nurse who specializes is in higher demand than those who do not. As the world grows and more research and technological advancements come out, nurse career path options become endless.
Trend #8: Self-Care for Nurses
Nurses are trained caregivers, yet they sometimes forget about themselves. Self-care is a planned activity to provide for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Lack of self-care can lead to errors, fatigue, and burnout, which comes at a high cost to patients, nurses, and the healthcare organization. The stress of the pandemic and increase in workloads have made many nurses put self-care even further on the back burner. During times of increased stress, self-care should increase, not decrease. As more research and data come out about the physical and mental strain of nursing, healthcare leaders worldwide are taking the initiative to acknowledge and treat self-care as an actual responsibility. It's time for nurses and the facilities they work for to make self-care a top priority. Self-care can look different for every nurse, and should be centered on their specific needs. A self-care plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, action-oriented, and time-sensitive.
Trend #9: Nursing informatics will grow
Ever since the American Recovery and Reinvestment required hospitals to adopt electronic medical records (EMR), hospitals have been adopting systems to correctly store them. This also means they need staff that can correctly read, interpret, and manage this new data. To keep up with this growing need, a new specialty within nursing has taken off and will continue to see large amounts of growth throughout 2022. Nursing informatics (NI) combines nursing with EMRs to properly use them.
The more EMRs are used in the hospitals, the more of a need there will be for nurse informatics. So much so, that the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses reports that 70,000 nurse informatics jobs will be needed in the next few years. Keeping this in the top nursing trends for years to come.
Trend #10: Increased salaries and benefits
Because of the lasting effects of the global pandemic, the high levels of stress endured during shifts, and the shortage of nurses, employers want to offer compensation that keeps their nurses satisfied and is equivalent to the amount of work they offer. If a nurse is not satisfied with what they are currently offered, they can shift to another hospital. Hospitals are tailoring care around the patient experience, and without nurses, they cannot offer a high level of patient care.
To stay in the competition, salaries and benefits will continue to grow so employers retain employees and attract potential candidates.
Trend #11: Bilingual nurses will be in more demand
Specifically, in the U.S., bilingualism is becoming increasingly valued. More than 350 languages are spoken across the states. Instead of having a translator and a nurse, hospitals are looking to combine the two and offer a seamless offering of care. In the coming years, nurses who speak a second language, mainly Spanish, will be increasingly in demand.
Trend #12: Increased use of virtual simulation
Technology has progressed to the point where healthcare facilities are able to implement technology to support virtual simulation training. This allows nurses, both new and old, to receive more immersive training. Virtual simulations are able to show a variety of different situations, expose them to situations where they need to employ critical-decisions making, and solve issues where there’s not enough space for all of the nurses to train in one space.
Trend #13: Holistic care will become more popular
As patients become more educated, they become more in charge of their health. After seeing how significantly COVID-19 has affected people, both physically and mentally, patients have begun to become interested in treating all aspects of their person rather than only what is presently wrong. This has resulted in a growing demand for nurses who provide holistic services and can help them find the root of their physical issues. Educated nurses trained in providing care and managing health procedures are ideal candidates for delivering holistic services to patients and will continue to be in need in the coming years.
Trend #14: Nurses are retiring later
The age of retirement among nurses is getting increasingly higher. Starting when the economy slowed, those with nursing jobs kept their jobs well into their 60s. Now with the nursing shortage, nurses are continuing to keep their jobs in hopes of helping. As they age, nurses are moving away from the physically demanding and transitioning to desk work, but are still able to help patients. With 40% of nurses over the age of 50 and a projected 82 million nurses to be over 65 by 2030, this trend is here to stay as more passionate nurses join the field.
Trend #15: Working with more technology
Every day new healthcare technologies enter the market. Nurses are required to adapt to these technologies to improve patient care. New technology is expanding and is continuously introduced to reduce administration time, and increase accuracy, all keeping clinician satisfaction and the patient experience in mind. Nurses are expected to use computer technology, like laptop carts, to document and obtain patient information and even look up treatment options when necessary. Intuitive workstations on wheels are becoming increasingly more popular.
Trend #16: Males entering the nurse workforce will rise
In 2011 in the U.S., 1 in 10 nurses were men. This was a 660% increase in the total number of men since 1981. With the global shortage of nurses, healthcare organizations will continue to focus on recruiting men to the field in 2022 and beyond.
Altus commits to improving the delivery of healthcare
With these top nursing trends, navigating how to best follow them can become a pitfall for many hospitals. That’s why Altus is here to help. Our medical computer carts are built specifically for nurses so they are able to bring the cart with them from room to room. Whether it’s a new nurse, one focused on informatics, or even a traveling nurse, these workstations are easy to use and offer a higher level of comfort while working. Altus computer workstations make following the above top nursing trends a breeze for nurses and healthcare facilities alike.
Book your virtual demo to learn more about how Altus workstations can help your hospital keep up with these trends.