Nursing is a growing and ever-popular field in the world of healthcare. Thousands of students graduate from nursing schools and enter into the profession, while nurses pick up new skills and face new challenges every day. These challenges have made the traditional nursing profession much more difficult to enter without extra certification. The modern world has presented the profession with a number of changes that will challenge how nurses will do their jobs and manage patients in the future.
Chronic Diseases and More Nursing Work
The growth of chronic diseases and their associated costs is one of the biggest challenges to nursing in the modern age. Improved medical techniques mean that more people are living past the acute diseases and infections that would have killed them off earlier in previous generations. As a result, people are living longer and they are suffering more chronic diseases as a result. Modern sanitation has led to an increase in autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s Disease. These diseases, and new treatments for them, are extensively discussed in nurse practitioner programs across the country.
In addition, the national obesity epidemic has resulted in more people with chronic heart conditions and other diseases such as diabetes. All of these conditions place enormous burdens on the nurses who need to treat patients with these conditions. Higher obesity rates mean more workplace injuries for nurses and longer hours with individual patients. Patients are staying in hospitals longer and nurses are consequently working longer hours with more sophisticated machinery. Emphasizing exercise and lifestyle changes may help reduce these numbers, since only three hours of exercise per week can increase a person’s lifespan by five years. Nurse practitioners learn many of these skills and suggestions through their education and training.
Another key concern for modern nursing is the digitization of the field. Nursing has been a personal, relatively low-tech field for many decades. The acts of drawing blood, checking blood pressure, and providing a helpful bedside manner were all prominent long before the advent of computers or the internet. But digital technology has significantly changed the way medicine works as a whole. Telemedicine has grown in recent years where doctors and patients can communicate and doctors can provide services from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
This shift prioritizes verbal communication and complicates the usually personal nature of bedside manner. Patients have also begun to look their problems up online, giving them license to argue with their nurses. A large information database has accumulated on the internet that people often consult to help diagnose illnesses and compare treatments. Nurses must find ways to communicate remotely and handle the inquisitive patient who has just read about their condition online and may have a host of difficult questions. The individual who has just moved from BSN to nurse practitioner will be able to more quickly pick up on these skills. They will have the knowledge base and experience that these newly informed patients require.
The future of the profession demands nurses gain greater experience and education in their fields. That is why many nurses are starting to go back to school and becoming a nurse practitioner. Becoming a nurse practitioner offers the education, training, and skills needed to navigate the diseases and digital tools that are so important to the modern nurse. Nursing will continue to undergo these changes and pressures, but if any profession can respond to these changes in a smart, productive way, it is the nursing profession.