Current Trends in Nursing 2017
Everyone in the healthcare field knows that the one constant in our profession is change! From changing legislation and regulations to changing technologies, each year we see new trends emerge. Nursing professionals are typically exposed to the most change as they are navigating the front lines of patient care. Let’s examine a few current trends that will impact nursing in 2017 and beyond.
New Nursing Specialties Experience Growth. There is never a shortage of new specialties for nurses to consider as they manage their career. Two, in particular, are on the leading edge for the future of nursing:
- Genetics Nurse – Due to continuing advancements in the study of genetics, nurses with specialized training in genetics will be in great demand as sequencing technology becomes more prevalent. We are learning more about rare diseases and debilitating conditions through genome sequencing than any other current area of research. This transformational research will need support from a growing number of clinicians with a specialty in genetics.
- Stem Cell Technology Nurse – An increasing amount of research is being conducted into the beneficial aspects of stem cell technology in the treatment of multiple diseases, including many cancers. Soon, nurses with specialized training in stem cell technology will be in great demand in care facilities as opposed to their current limitation to research facilities.
Robots to Assist, Not Replace. There has been discussion about utilizing robots to alleviate future nursing shortages, however, in the near term they will be used to supplement the nursing workforce, not replace them. There are research projects worldwide developing a variety of applications for the integration of robots into the healthcare setting. For example, in Japan, a robot has been developed as an assistant to lift up and move patients from beds to wheelchairs and reduce debilitating lifting injuries. Another robot developed in Belgium is an automated Triage Nurse, capable of taking a patient's vitals, updating medical records, and medical history. Another being developed at Duke University is designed to perform housekeeping tasks and take vital signs for patients with infectious diseases.
More Medical Device Technologies. Today’s nursing professionals are finding that they have to become more tech-savvy every year and 2017 is no different. There are some technologies that are now a reality.
- GPS Tracking. How often have you found yourself wasting valuable time in the unit tracking down a needed piece of equipment? Now, tracking chips are being embedded into these devices and integrated with an “in-house” positioning system so they can be located instantly. The same concept is being used in elderly care situations, where residents have wearable technology that tracks them no matter where they are in the care facility.
- Wireless Patient Monitoring. The constant retrieval of data is increasingly being performed by wireless devices. This technology has even migrated to the actual patient beds and mattress pads where weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, sleep patterns and more are constantly being transmitted. The collation and utilization of this data alert nurses to any number of changes to a patient’s status.
- Intelligent Alarms. Are you often overwhelmed with the number of alarms that are activated during a chaotic shift? New technology using “intelligent” alarm notification has the ability to discern which alarms need immediate intervention and which others are less critical. The proliferation of patient monitoring technologies and data collection allow for this layered approach to alarm notifications and responses.
Holistic Nursing: Back to the Future. As the growth of alternative health care continues throughout the world, many nurses are following the trend and treating it as a specialty practice. One of the main drivers of the alternative care revolution is the growing focus on wellness activities and disease prevention. Holistic nursing embraces the total mind, body and spirit approach to patient care. The National Institute of Health published an Analysis of Holistic Care in January of 2017 which found that nurses who are educated in a traditional allopathic approach are not familiar with the concepts of holistic care. Today, holistic nurses are integrating their approach with modern methodologies to enhance their overall level of patient care. Many holistic nurses are also specializing in complementary or alternative approaches such as the use of natural products (Herbs, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics) and mind/body practices including Yoga, Tai Chi, Osteopathic Manipulation, Meditation and Deep Breathing.
We want to know what your thoughts are on what is next in the field of nursing. What has been your experience with emerging technologies or new approaches to patient care? Share your thought in the comment section below or visit Supplemental Health Care’s Facebook page.