The year 2020 was officially inaugurated “The Year of The Nurse.” The global COVID-19 pandemic showcased the nursing profession as a vital lifeline to safe patient care. And in 2021, the year of the nurse gets an extension!
The international theme for the 2021 “Year of The Nurse” is “A Voice to Lead-A Vision for the Future of Healthcare. “
Strength in numbers
Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States. There are approximately 4 million nurses total. The average age of nurses is 47.9 years old. However, 77.3 percent of nurses are Caucasian and 9.6% are male.
According to the National State Board Of Nursing Statistics (2018), you can find most nurses working in the hospital setting 59.9 percent, 15.6 percent in ambulatory settings, 16.2 percent work in ‘other’ settings, and 16.6 percent have no direct patient contact.
Looking into the future of nursing
There’s no doubt in any nurses mind that healthcare in the United States needs an overhaul. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an already inflamed system to burst like a huge abscess. Frontline nurses working at the bedside suffered personal protective equipment shortages (PPE), burnout, and some even lost their lives.
It’s up to nurses to challenge hospital administrators and politicians regarding their healthcare policies and hospital standards in order to create a better future for safe and efficient patient care. Americans deserve a healthcare system that promises a better tomorrow that does not repeat the catastrophic pandemic crisis of 2020 and acknowledges the value of nurses.
The National Academy of Medicine Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 explores the roles of nurses, responsibilities and significant education changes to meet the demand for care created by healthcare reform which seeks to improve America’s complex healthcare system.
Trends in nursing on the horizon
Bachelors-in-Science to practice nursing (BSN)
New York in 2018 passed legislation that all nurses are required to earn a BSN with in 10 years of becoming licensed. Many states are planning to follow this trend.
Online education programs
The popularity of online nursing degree programs sprouted with COVID-19. Online nursing programs allow nurses to obtain higher degrees in nursing education while continuing to work as a nurse. An increase of online nurse practitioner programs, post masters and doctoral programs are predicted to flourish in 2021.
Shortages in Physicians
A physician shortage is predicted to continue. In 2018, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), reported that there were 248,000 licensed to practice in the United States. More and more hospitals are closing in rural areas. Family Nurse Practitioners are useful in rural areas where there is a growing population and lack of physicians.
Full practice authority for Nurse Practitioners
Both the national academy of medicine and the national council for state boards of nursing are urging states to allow nurse practitioners the authority to practice independently. Currently, 26 states allow nurse practitioners full practice authority.
Nurses leaving the profession
Several nurses are struggling with burnout which are causing them to leave the healthcare profession. Hospitals across the United States are suffering nursing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nurses are blaming lack of support from hospital management and administrators as well as a lack of focus on what nurses need in order to provide safe and efficient patient care.
Nurses creating innovative paths in nursing through Locum Tenens
Most hospitals lost about 30 percent of their nursing staff to travel nurse jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 cases surged, so did travel nurse jobs with over 31, 000 openings. Many travel nurse agencies were offering nurses crisis pay of almost $10,000 per week. Staffing demands for travel nurses increased over 44 percent compared to the previous year.
Locum Tenens means ‘place holder’ in Latin. One fills an office for a certain amount of time. Locum tenen assignments as well as travel nursing assignments have the potential of turning into full time positions. Locums positions are great for nurses who want to travel or stay local and experience a variety of different neighborhoods and diverse socioeconomic patient populations in order to broaden their scope of practice.
There’s no doubt that travel nursing and locum tenems work offer nurses a better work life balance. Nurses, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, and Certified Nurse Anesthetists can plan their schedules and blocks of time off for higher education, travel, family planning and enjoy their life with ease.
Medcare staffing offers nurses and advanced nurse practitioners contract and temporary assignements with full coverage of medical malpractice insurance. Click here to learn more and speak with a recruiter today.