The role of nurses in todays medical environment, including hospitals, clinics, care facilities and doctor’s offices, has changed significantly over the past few decades, with the biggest changes in the way nursing has evolved taking place in very recent years. As healthcare becomes increasingly specialized, nursing staff has taken on a much more significant role.
Today’s society has become sicker, it’s true. With all the knowledge we now have about diseases and chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, cancer and heart disease, millions, if not billions, of Americans are still suffering these fates. Add to that the fact that the largest generation, Baby Boomers, are aging out rapidly, and it becomes apparent that the need for care providers is crucial.
Nurses don’t just “fill the gap” in care facilities where census numbers are climbing. Todays medical environment sees nurses taking a bigger role in healthcare than ever before. Because of their intimate involvement in patient care, nurses have risen to new heights. The latest generation of nurses has their finger on the pulse of todays medical environment in ways nurses of even a few decades ago could never have imagined.
A Bigger Role in Healthcare
The changing role of nurses in todays medical environment isn’t surprising. As respected medical professionals, nurses are now the go-to authority, publishing scientific research, addressing concerns in policies affecting healthcare, and even developing mobile applications for use by physicians and nurses.
The opinions and advice of nurses is being sought by colleagues every day. Physicians, those in hospital administration, public health, disease control, and many other specialty areas, value their collaboration with nursing staff. Todays medical environment is changing and nurses are leading the charge.
Mastering Technology in Todays Medical Environment
One of the most obvious changes in nursing today is the ability of Millennials among the nursing staff to move seamlessly through the world of technology. This new generation grew up on technology. They aren’t afraid to face new ways of the day to day, involving electronic delivery of data in charting, test results, lab work, research and prescriptions.
As the field of nursing grows, and medicine becomes more and more a global arena, it’s necessary for those in specialty areas to be accessible via videoconferencing, and cloud computing. In certain therapies and the OR, technology is ever-present. You must be able to master these software applications in order to do your job.
Not only is technology as a component of patient care becoming the norm, but certain specialty areas, involving technology. Software development and management are areas that utilize nurses ability to merge the two dynamics of technology and medicine. Look for more integration of the two in years to come.
Steering the Direction of Healthcare
A major hurdle faced by a growing population of those over 50, and those providing for their care, is dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Community outreach and education has proven to make an impact on this population’s ability to manage, control, and avoid these preventable conditions.
Nursing has grown and evolved at an accelerated rate and the definition of nursing in todays medical environment has changed in ways prior generations couldn’t have imagined. Creative care is at the center of all nursing. Today’s nurses take what they’ve learned in their education, and build ion that through real life experience. Hands on patient care has taught them what works, and what’s lacking in todays medical environment. These innovative nurses are steering the direction of healthcare.
What Lies Ahead
While the future may be uncertain, especially in view of todays medical environment, we can expect nursing professionals to rise to the occasion, come what may. Specialized education, advanced degrees and more hands-on experiences through clinical and community programs will continue to help grow astute, professional, technology-savvy, capable nurses.
The heart of nursing is, and always has been, caring for patients. No matter the challenges in technology and politically-motivated policy, or the changes in the way care is provided, a nurse’s first concern will never waver. Dedicated nurses always have been and will remain their patients best advocate for quality care, no matter the environment.