As the health care sector continues to evolve, the opportunities for medical professionals will continue changing as well. In the last year or so, the job market in the nursing field has changed considerably. Here are a few of the trends that will continue to affect nurses in the U.S.:
The number of job opportunities is growing
While most employment opportunities for those in the nursing field have been in hospitals or clinics in the past, there are now a growing number of employment opportunities elsewhere. In recent history, the elderly have expressed a strong desire to reside in their homes for longer. Because of that, nurses are finding jobs outside of traditional medical facilities. According to Nursing World, hospitals are opening more and more separate facilities, such as rehabilitation centers and assisted living centers.
Positions for nurses at both rehab centers and assisted living homes give individuals a little more flexibility when searching for a job. If nurses don't want to work in a hospital setting, they no longer have to. And as more of these jobs become available for professionals, nurses will have to focus on their coordination abilities. Helping patients with chronic conditions, for example, requires that nurses oversee even more duties than usual. Beverly Malone, chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing, talked about how important it is for nurses to learn how to operate effectively within community settings.
"We are going to need nurses in chronic care, geriatrics, palliative and hospice care," she told Nursing World. "The education programs are going to have to prepare nurses for a variety of roles."
Patients are becoming more knowledgeable
"The best defense is a good offense."
It's becoming common for patients to look up health care information on the internet before they seek out any professional medical advice. And while they can guess correctly every now and again, searching for symptoms on WebMD is not a replacement for years of nursing school and professional experience. Taking that into account, however, patients are now expecting that nurses and other medical professionals share all the data they obtain, according to NursesRx. In order to meet this growing need, nurses can use technologies at their disposal to help patients feel like they are included in the process. Instead of letting patients complain about not receiving every detail involving their cases, give them some general information to chew on. With blogs and social media sites, for example, nurses can help patients feel better about the care they are receiving.
High-level degrees are becoming nearly necessary
Although there are more opportunities for nurses outside of hospital settings, the number of jobs may be down overall. While according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 500,000 nurses are expected to retire in the next five years, the number of nurses is expected to grow by roughly 19 percent in about the same time. That translates to a greater number of nurses than there are jobs!
To remain competitive in increasingly competitive job market, it will become more important to have a high-level degree. Whether you are a nurse now or still completing your undergraduate education, it is a good idea to seriously consider obtaining a high-level degree. Not only will that make you a more appealing hire, but you will also gain a wealth of knowledge and training that you can apply in your daily work.