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The changing roles nurses play in today’s healthcare industry are ever-evolving. Medical facility employees must adapt to the healthcare dynamic of the day, with nursing staff changing roles on a dime and still keeping the need for quality patient care their primary duty. Anyone in nursing today must be prepared as job descriptions move beyond the bedside.

 

The Whys of Changing Roles in Nursing

There’s no doubt the biggest reason nurses face changing roles is directly related to the constant modifying and delivery of healthcare. These changes become necessary as the needs of the patients change. Many look to the growing population of elderly, as well as the increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiac-related issues, and other conditions, to affirm the need for changing roles in nursing. Nurses, must deal with the impact an aging and unhealthy population places on healthcare at the front lines.

 

In order to keep up with the changing needs of the populations within their communities, hospitals grow and invest in the latest in technology and nurses need to keep up with the times. As the tech world and healthcare merge it becomes essential for nursing staff to have a mastery of the skills necessary to operate even the most basic of instruments and tools. Assessing a patient’s vital signs can now be done through a bandage, nurses are able to track and measure their patient’s continued progress via wireless instruments, and the changing roles of nurses continues as the profession is relied upon to offer ideas on how to improve healthcare technology.

How Nurses Can Adapt to These Changing Roles

Anticipating even more changes in healthcare means nurses must be proactive. Prepare for changing roles in nursing by arming yourself with the necessary tools. Number one is education. By realigning yourself with the “new” specialties that steer these changing roles for nurses you can make yourself an integral part of the picture.

Arming yourself with education doesn’t necessarily mean heading back to school for months on end. You can simply request to be alerted when there are opportunities for training, or check into what sort of certification programs are available at your local college. Of course if you are able to take the time to advance your degree, or if you’re currently in school doing just that, you may want to include dedicating some specific focus to a number of the new nursing applications available.

Specialties Which Reflect Changing Roles in Nursing

Progress in medicine is a very good thing and as healthcare continues to move forward many of the new specialties reflect the changing roles nurses play in that progress. For those nurses who are eager to embrace the evolution in healthcare there are some specialties to be considered:

Public Health

The role nurses already play in public health is a vital one indeed. Educating members of your own community in disease prevention, prolonging life, and living the healthiest lifestyle possible goes hand-in-hand with quality of life. The changing roles of public health nurses, as the specialty becomes more popular, will create a groundswell of education in healthy living and help to prevent epidemics of many diseases and chronic conditions.

Nurse and Family Cooperative Facilitators help to address immediate health concerns within their community. By providing an opportunity to members of the community to experience one-on-one engagement with a healthcare professional these nurses are able to address overall social issues such as poverty, substance abuse, and violence. Through information, intervention and providing necessary tools for healthcare management this special group of nurses improves the outcome and the community served.

Health Coach

In facility settings it’s becoming more necessary to involve a coach or coordinator to instruct and involve the proper caregivers-nurses, assistants, technicians, and the entire team-to provide for each patient’s specific and unique medical needs. Health coaches don’t just motivate staff members but work also with patients who may need a little help in taking charge of their own health.

Care Coordinator

It’s critical that everyone involved with the patient be on the same page when it comes to care. This includes the entire team of providers as well as family and other caregivers. Nurses possess the unique ability to assess the patient’s needs while gaining his or her trust. The nurse’s skill set and knowledge puts them at the center of it all and using these skills to coordinate care within and outside of healthcare facilities is going to be a growing trend in changing roles of nurses.

Informatics

Just as there is a need for more nurse involvement in disease prevention and health promotion, nurses also have a say in technology and how it’s managed in a healthcare setting. In fact many of the apps used regularly on smartphones and such devices have been developed, in part, by and for nurse. As informatics specialists gather data, develop applications, and impart knowledge that leads to improved patient outcomes, nurses are once again on the front lines. IT and healthcare come together to create changing roles in nursing.

Nursing Education

The need for quality nurse educators will never change, however as healthcare evolves it becomes essential to educate tomorrow’s nurses in ways that meet the growing needs of these changing roles. What better-and more proactive-way to prepare for what the future may hold than by ensuring tomorrow’s nurses are well-equipped and armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to the tasks. Consider a change in your own role and become a nurse educator.

Thankfully, those in healthcare will always look for ways to improve the outcome for patients. Changing roles in nursing are a given. How you, as a nurse, prepare for these changes is up to you.

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