How the Nursing Workforce Is Changing To Improve Care

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There have been a lot of outstanding advances in medicine over the last few decades, and nursing has experienced a lot of changes and adaptations to meet the challenges of providing a high level of care to a growing population of people of all ages.

Going forward, nursing will face new challenges, and the nursing workforce will need to further adapt as the demands on healthcare change and increase in the coming decades. 

Inadequate staffing means workflow must be as streamlined as possible

Healthcare facilities are taking measures to ensure that workflow is as efficient as possible. This means that healthcare administrators are constantly listening for feedback from patients and nurses on the care they receive so they can take time to address the most pressing concerns.

Streamlining medical processes allows healthcare facilities to be more efficient in their use of staff and treatment of patients. This is extremely important considering so many facilities are having a hard time employing the staff to fill all their departments. 

In the coming years, the demands on the healthcare system will only increase, thus making it even more of a priority to find ways of streamlining care and treatments. An efficient referral system for treatments and procedures that require a specialist is one way that medical providers are making it easier to treat more patients without compromising the level of care offered.

Nurses must make use of support staff and know when to delegate tasks

It is easy to get busy when working as a nurse and try to do it all without asking for the help you need. 

While this may seem like the noble and right thing to do, the truth is that it is better to delegate tasks to support staff so that you can concentrate on using your advanced medical knowledge and skills to provide care to patients. Tasks that do not require your expertise should be delegated when possible. This is especially important during times when a lot of people need care and staffing is short.

Patient record keeping and management have drastically improved

Over the years, patient management and record keeping have shifted to being entirely electronic and computer-based. This allows patient records to be easily shared throughout a facility and medical care system. 

For example, if an area has a network of hospitals and clinics all operated and managed by the same major healthcare provider, anyone with access to patient records can see patient care and needs updated in real time. This level of interconnectedness and organization helps reduce mistakes and ensures that treatment and care can be delivered as promptly as possible.

Computer-based systems make it easier to keep up with patient needs

In modern hospitals, patients are often provided with an identifying wristband that has a bar code that can be scanned to access their medical records. This allows nurses to make sure they are offering the right treatments and medications at the right time. 

These barcodes are scanned when a patient receives care, and a record is made, so it is impossible to forget to input notes or records. Scanning a wristband is much faster and more reliable than note-taking, but it also allows for notes to be taken if and when required. 

The nursing workforce is slowly becoming more diverse

It can be challenging to create a diverse workforce in some areas. At least part of the problem is the sheer lack of healthcare workers compared to the overwhelming demand. Another problem is that many regions simply do not have a diverse population of residents. 

All of this is changing. Many areas, including rural and remote ones, are becoming more diverse than ever before. As a result, there are more healthcare workers from various backgrounds and ethnic groups.

It is important to have a diverse nursing workforce whenever possible because it improves the comfort and level of trust of new patients coming from similar backgrounds. Consider the language barriers or certain religious and cultural practices that come with diversity. It is easier to create an atmosphere of trust when your healthcare facility encourages diversity and good cultural awareness. 

Clinical automation technology increases the time nurses can spend with patients

Automation helps nurses take care of more patients simultaneously and allows them to give each patient more of their time. Automation reduces the amount of time nurses need to spend on more monotonous or simple tasks. 

The more time nurses have available to spend with each patient the more likely they are to get the highest possible level of care. Automation can also reduce the number of medical mistakes because it reduces the workload and overall number of tasks that a healthcare worker must keep abreast of. 

Many technologies, such as medical robots and AI, are still in development, but many are currently used in some capacity. As an example, in some facilities, robots are currently used to transport medical devices or medications throughout a facility, thus freeing up time for healthcare workers to perform more skilled tasks.


The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in medical appointments conducted via video or voice call. There are some basic appointments that can be done without a patient coming into an office. 

Telemedicine prevents some sick patients from exposing others to an illness or vice versa. Where appropriate, it can be beneficial for patients to avoid coming into physical facilities where there is an increased risk of contracting or spreading a virus or infection.  

Telemedicine also allows doctors and nurses to offer help and advice to more patients. It is an especially useful tool for checking in with patients for follow-up care.

There are many medical facilities and online services that offer appointments and prescriptions for basic illnesses and infections that are easily treated with basic medications and care at home.

Demand for nursing leaders is on the rise

With more nurses reaching retirement age, there is an increasing need for new and younger nurses to start gaining the experience they need to become strong nursing leaders in the future. Nursing leaders are vital in managing and educating the workforce. 

If you have an interest in hospital administration or teaching others the skills needed to be a nurse, then now is a great time to get started on that career path.

Nursing leaders also play a role in helping train and mentor other employees at their healthcare facility. Good mentorship helps medical facilities have a better employee retention rate because everyone does better when they receive the support and training they need to do a great job.

Nursing is for all genders

In the past, nursing was looked at as an occupation just for women. This is changing. There are now many male nurses contributing to offering a high level of care to patients throughout every major medical system.

Male nurses contribute to diversity in the workplace and help some patients be more comfortable; it is not unheard of for patients to request a nurse of the same gender as them, especially if they are experiencing sensitive medical issues or have to undergo a thorough examination or physical.

Nursing has great job satisfaction

It is important for work-life balance and overall happiness to have a career that is rewarding and fulfilling. A lot of people are finding that the demand for healthcare workers is an amazing opportunity to retrain for a job that offers excellent levels of long-term worker satisfaction.

Nursing offers a competitive salary and opportunity for advancement

A career in nursing can offer individuals and families from disadvantaged backgrounds a way to improve their financial security and lifestyle. In addition, nurses have a lot of opportunities for advancement. In fact, there are going to be an increasing number of higher-level positions open in the future for those that earn their degree and become licensed nurses now. 

Currently, the number of nurses is far too low due to the large number of retiring healthcare workers and the large population of aging adults that are in need of care for long-term chronic conditions as well as those issues that arise with aging and decreased mobility.

Is nursing right for you?

Nursing is a very rewarding and fulfilling job for those that want to spend a lot of time helping others and improving the lives of those in their community. Here are some of the skills you need to be a great nurse.

Organization and attention to detail

If you are a naturally organized person, then it will be easier for you to become a nurse than if you are not. Organizational skills and attention to detail can be learned, but the sooner you improve these skills the better off you will be. Staying organized helps reduce the incidence of mistakes and ensures that a high level of care is accomplished at all times.

Nurses must be very observant and pay attention at all times while working. Patients are not always capable or even willing to share everything that is going on regarding their health. Being observant can help treatments occur faster and prevent misdiagnosis.

A passion for helping others

Nursing means you will be helping people every minute of your working life. At the end of the day, you may be tired but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you truly made a difference in the lives of others. Nursing is the perfect job for those that are natural helpers.

You must be great at connecting and empathizing with others

A great bedside manner is required if you want to succeed in nursing. As a nurse, you will be communicating and caring for people from many different backgrounds. Knowing how to talk and interact with a diverse group of people is important. 

Empathy is a major part of having a good bedside manner. Patients need to know that you are doing whatever you can to understand their situation and support them through their treatment. 

Nurses need to be exceptional listeners because they play a vital role in helping patients work through their emotions and can be an important source of companionship. This is particularly important when treating patients who do not have family there to support them during hard times.

An interest in the nursing profession

The medical world is always changing. This means that nurses need to stay on top of what is going on in the world of medicine. Reading journals and articles is important and will help your employers see that you are a driven and motivated professional. This can be very helpful when an opportunity for a promotion arises.

Networking and being a team player

Nurses have to work with a lot of medical professionals in many different specialties. Offering a high level of care can require a lot of different medical professionals depending on the type of condition being treated and how advanced it is. Networking online and at conferences can also open up a lot of opportunities to collaborate or move into higher-level positions.

Teamwork within a medical facility is vital. There will be times when you need to help out other workers when they are overloaded. During times of high patient volume, everyone working well together keeps things flowing in an orderly fashion.

nurse graduate

How long does it take to become a nurse?

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nurses must also pass any state-required exams and licensing requirements. In the past, nurses had to attend university for four to five years. This required attending classes in person. 

Now, there are nursing programs that can be completed entirely online, except for the required in-person clinical rotations. If you have a prior degree, you may qualify for an accelerated program which means you can become an RN within 18-24 months. 

Holy Family University can show you how to become a nurse as a second career in Kansas in under two years while keeping your current job. By choosing an accredited institution, such as Holy Family University, prospective nurses can achieve a high level of education while reaping all the benefits of online learning. 

All nurses have to complete clinicals at the end of their education and pass them in order to qualify to take tests and licensing requirements. Holy Family University offers programs that include clinical placement, and this can be invaluable because it saves a lot of time and money when compared to finding placements yourself. 

As a result, you can achieve your degree faster and with less frustration. A program that offers clinical placement can also more easily find you a placement that caters to your interests and desired specialization.

What types of specializations should I consider?

There are a lot of nursing specializations, but some are harder to gain a position in after graduation. Pediatrics and labor and delivery nursing are often competitive, especially in highly desirable areas and medical facilities. 

Elder care and assisted living facilities are being rapidly built to accommodate the growing population of older adults that need varying levels of care, from very basic to full-time assistance with every aspect of life. 

Primary care nurses who operate in doctors’ offices are another specialty that is in very high demand. This is partially due to so many people having better access to health insurance. Unfortunately, in many areas, primary care doctors are swamped to the point where they struggle to see as many patients as possible with limited staff. 

If you like the idea of working in a smaller clinic that sees a lot of families, then primary care may be the specialty for you.

Urgent care centers are also seeing a record number of patients due to the lack of primary care physicians and facilities in some areas. As an urgent care nurse, you would primarily be taking care of illnesses and injuries that require immediate attention but can be initially treated without the use of a specialist. 

Good examples are simple infections, colds, flu, common childhood illnesses, mild to moderate lacerations and bone breaks, and sprains.

Nursing is changing for the better

The world of nursing is changing by becoming more diverse, efficient, technologically advanced, and automated. Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions out there and is set to be even more in demand over the next few decades due to a large population of aging adults.

Changing careers to become a nurse is something that many people are choosing to do because it is wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling while offering fantastic job security and room for advancement. Becoming an RN is becoming increasingly realistic for a lot more people due to the availability of online programs that allow nursing students to maintain a full-time job while studying.