Due to conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, future resourcing and management of frontline hospitals – particularly in informatics and nursing – has to be rewritten.
But whatever happens, there is no stopping nurses. They provide care to both the sick and the healthy across the globe – they’re one of our most valuable members of society.
And there are over 450,000 registered nurses (RNs) in Australia, making nursing the most in-demand and fourth most common job in the country, and a crucial part of our economy.
The healthcare industry in Australia has had the biggest growth in the past five years, and this is expected to continue into the future.
The occupations that are most in demand in this sector are registered nurses, nursing support workers, disabled and aged care givers, personal care workers and receptionists.
So what will be the role of nursing in years to come?
11 trends in nursing for the coming years
- The growing role of informatics
Informatics will be the biggest area of growth for the nursing industry.
Nursing informatics is an established, distinct specialty within nursing.
It is “the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice”.
While nurse informaticians do not directly interact with patients, they help improve their outcomes in many other ways.
A nurse informaticist analyses data to improve patient care and help healthcare facilities implement new patient care technology.
Unlike the one-to-one care of a traditional nursing role, they advocate for patients by taking steps to improve outcomes and safety in entire units, facilities, or even healthcare systems.
- The increased use of telehealth services
We’re already seeing more people move to a no-contact, online process for many GP visits because of the pandemic.
For many, this will continue to be their initial point of contact, with a nurse to determine whether an in-person visit is necessary.
Nurses will be required to field calls from the general public in an even greater capacity via telehealth services, which opens up new opportunities for work flexibility.
Global pandemic telemedicine helped facilities preserve personal protective equipment and kept healthcare workers from being infected, as well as monitored patients’ chronic conditions without putting them at risk by going to medical centres.
Telemedicine’s benefits have been highlighted by the COVID-19 outbreak and has served as the catalyst to push many health systems into implementing more telemedicine services to address this issue.
As a result, more than 4.3 million health and medical services have now been delivered to a total of more than three million patients through the telehealth items introduced by the Australian Government for the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Nurses will need to be more technologically aware
A few advantages of nursing technology include faster communication, efficiency in charting, improved patient safety, and faster test results.
A nurse of today is not just a medical professional, but also a multifaceted worker who is proficient in technology. Nurses with tech skills are in greater demand.
Nurses use computers to schedule staff, to keep time, to order medications, to conduct research, and for email. Most nurses use computers to document the care they provide to patients, residents and clients referred to as electronic health records or electronic medical records.
These systems are constantly evolving and will (eventually) become even more efficient and complicated. A tech-savvy nurse always moves with the times.
- Nurses will need to pursue higher degrees
Because of this ongoing advance in technology, there will be a growing need for further education by nurses.
More nurses will enroll in online programs and pursue higher degrees, thereby increasing leadership opportunities.
And increasing numbers of nurses will choose to specialise.
- Holistic care will become more common
A holistic approach in nursing focuses on a person’s total wellbeing, not just their illness or condition.
Holistic care recognises a person as a whole and acknowledges the interdependence among one’s biological, social, psychological, and spiritual aspects.
It involves a wide range of approaches, including medication, education, communication, self-help, and complementary treatment.
As a result, holistic nurses consider a patient’s body, mind, spirit, culture, socioeconomic background and environment when delivering care.
- Shifting demographics
As Australia’s population continues to age, more geriatric specialists will be needed.
An geriatric nurse, or gerontological nurse, is a nurse who is trained to care for elderly and aging patients. Nursing in senior care requires nurses with special skills to understand older adults’ special needs, as well as traditional nursing duties.
Gerontology nurses provide care for the elderly in long-term care facilities, at home, or in hospices, caring for the elderly who suffer from limited movement, cognitive impairment, or pain. Patients under their care face acute illnesses and receive chronic disease management from these nurses.
- More family nurse practitioners are needed
Nurses are always adapting to different settings, and a nurse practitioner works at an advanced practice level.
A Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), is a registered nurse with specialised educational and clinical training in family practice.
They assess and manage clients using their nursing knowledge and skills. Their extended clinical role allows them to request diagnostic investigations, prescribe medicines and receive/make referrals.
Unlike other healthcare professionals, FNPs have a greater sense of autonomy, career growth, and personal satisfaction.
- More men will enter nursing
This is a current trend which will only advance in years to come.
As more automation and outsourcing has eliminated many male-dominated jobs, nursing as a profession has become increasingly appealing to men.
Registration data from 2017 shows men make up 11.75% of the registered nursing workforce in Australia.
Men from a wide variety of roles shared their experiences in the nursing profession in videos created at the 2019 Australian College of Nursing National Nursing Forum in Hobart.
Each story is a unique, passionate and raw description of being a man in nursing.
Nurses now work a flexible schedule without compromising on quality care.
It is not unusual for nurses to work long shifts three or four days a week, after which they have three or four days off. See the positions available at Nurses Now.
- More bilingual nurses, s’il vous plaît!
We’ll need more bilingual nurses as the world population grows and migrates.
This may have been stymied by the pandemic, but once international travel opens again in Australia, we can expect a re-welcoming of different cultures to our shores.
Similarly, Aboriginal-speaking nurses are valued across all healthcare facilities as the nation focuses on closing the gap.
Healthcare organisations actively recruit bilingual or multilingual staff, especially nurses, in order to better serve their patients and improve their health outcomes.
Nursing captures and provides medical information as needed to patients, such as information concerning disease states, patient education, patient consent, and discharges. Any aspect of this process must not be hindered by language barriers.
In hiring preferences, promotions, and income incentives for nursing staff, the desire for bilingual staff is clearly evident. Various lucrative and exciting travel nursing jobs can also be found by speaking multiple languages.
In the nursing field, bilingual nurses have a number of unique opportunities and play a crucial role in improving patient care.
- Compassion fatigue awareness will grow
Compassion fatigue (or burnout) is marked by physical and emotional exhaustion and a profound decrease in the ability to empathise.
It is a form of secondary traumatic stress, as the stress occurs as a result of helping or wanting to help those in need.
This is why it is super important for the nursing industry to safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of nurses. All Nurses Now employees have our full support.
To combat this growing problem, nurses can switch to agency nursing through Nurses Now and take back control of their working lives with flexible working hours and excellent pay.
- Nurses will always be in high demand
This is a given. Health Workforce Australia (HWA) is estimating that there will be a shortage of over 100,000 nurses by 2025 and more than 123,000 nurses by 2030.
Registered nurse consistently ranks as one of Australia’s most heavily advertised occupations.
Is the Australian healthcare industry able to maintain the level of demand for nurses in the face of an aging baby boomer population, rising chronic illness rates, and a push for preventative care?
To enhance the future direction of nursing, the State of the World’s Nursing 2020 report identifies key recommendations and recommends that governments increase funding for nursing leadership, education, and job opportunities.
Learn more about your future in nursing
For those with a passion for health and a desire to care for others, nursing offers a wide range of options. You can choose a specialty that you are passionate about, and you are in a great position to achieve your goals. Find your next nursing job at nursesnow.com.au.
- Department of Health: Educating the Nurse of the Future (PDF)
- Australia’s future health workforce: nurses – detailed report (PDF, 2014)
- Nursing Times: What’s in store for the future of the nursing industry in Australia?
- Australian College of Nursing: What does the future hold for health care?
- Health Times: 3 high-demand nursing career specialisations in Australia’s future
- The future of nurse education in Australia
- Nursing Education Review unveils vision for nurses of the future
- Etsy: Future nurse gifts