As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to affect the U.S., nurses are more in demand than ever, and that demand is not expected to decrease anytime soon. There will be a need for nurses in the workforce for many years to come, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting a 9% employment growth from 2020-2030. Employment of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) is expected to increase as well, with the BLS estimating 9% growth during the same time period.
Aside from the demand COVID-19 is producing, this continued need for nurses arises from three main factors:
- An aging population: As the baby boomer generation nears or reaches retirement age, some of them may develop chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, dementia and obesity. Nurses are needed in order to help educate and care for these patients. Although geriatric nurses are in demand for aging patients, pediatric and other specialized nurses will still be needed.
- A wave of retirements: Retirements of RNs, LPNs and specialty nurses currently in the workforce creates an instant demand for more nurses to enter the workforce. While the nursing gap varies from state to state, there is a real need across the country. By 2022, more than 500,000 RNs are expected to retire.
- Expanded health insurance coverage: After the Affordable Care Act was passed, millions of once uninsured Americans were given access to health insurance or were qualified for Medicaid. More Americans have been able to see a doctor on a regular basis or seek medical attention for chronic illnesses. There has been an anticipated growth in health insurance and health insurance coverage. This is only predicted to grow in the coming years.
Current and upcoming trends affecting nursing
While the demand for nurses continues to grow and change, the industry continues to evolve as well. Current nurses and anyone looking to pursue a career in nursing can expect the following trends to have an effect on the industry as we know it:
- Changes in education. There has been greater importance placed on higher education. Some hospitals are requiring RNs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for entry-level nursing positions. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) may help you become more competitive in the job market.
- Telemedicine: While it’s not new, telemedicine is only gaining traction due to COVID-19 keeping people in their homes. Telemedicine uses technology to provide remote care via phone or video visits. However, telemedicine isn’t limited to patient visits. This could include doctors and nurses communicating with one another regarding patient care or using robotic technology to remotely perform surgery. The use of telemedicine is growing, with the number of physicians relying on this technology increasing by 22% from 2018 to 2019.
- Re-defining roles: Recently there has been a shift in how a nurse’s role is defined. Nurses have been given more responsibility in order to create more efficiency. In some places, nurses have taken on new roles such as assisting with the creation of primary care plans and overseeing the discharge process.
Current and prospective nurses should continue to stay on top of the latest trends, as healthcare is an ever-changing field.
Want to kick start your career in nursing? Learn more about Herzing’s nursing programs to get started today.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.