Nursing careers have experienced tremendous growth since the previous decade. Statistics show there will be more than 711,900 new Registered Nursing jobs created by the year 2020. It is the fastest-growing occupation in the United States. This continued growth is due to technological advances, health care reform, and the aging of the baby boomer generation:
Technological advances have and will continue to change how nursing is practiced:
- More Accurate and Less Invasive Tools - new tools used for diagnosis and treatment
- Biometrics - eliminates concerns from lost passwords and keeps confidential information more secure
- Electronic Health Care Records (EHR) - provides nurses with critical patient information at all times
- Computerized Physician/Provider Order Entry (CPOE) - new ordering system reduces medical errors
Nurses in the 21st century will be taught how to use this technology that improves operational processes, relationships, and patient interaction.
Health Care Reform
Nurses were restricted in their scope of practice in the past. However, to meet the needs of health care reform, nurses are now being encouraged to use all of their skills and take leadership roles in planning, providing, and creating health policies. The need for nurses is there to seek roles that support a wide scope of practice to fill in the gaps of health care.
There has also been a huge impact on the growth of the nursing profession due to the increasing number of patients that are now insured and can seek health care. Since the legislation also focused on adding more preventative services, more trained nurses need to be available for patient education as well.
Aging Baby Boomers
As the number of current nurses reaching retirement age continues to grow, the demand for nurses is increasing. There are more baby boomers seeking medical treatment and preventative care than any other generation before them. Also, many nurses are also baby boomers who are now enjoying their retirement. The large numbers of retiring nurses combined with the growth in the healthcare sector dramatically increased the demand for more trained nurses.
More Registered Nurses are also needed to fill the new careers that are now available to them.While the majority of Registered Nurses are employed in hospitals, there are many who are needed in other settings such as:
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Long-Term Care Facilities
- Physicians Offices
- Home and Public Health Agencies