- Here's what the future of nursing might look like after the COVID-19 pandemic
Right now, it feels like life and work will never be the same again. Public spaces are severely restricted, lots of people are working from home, and most people are worried about the implications of sending kids back to school. In the field of medicine, things are just as chaotic.
Nurses play an essential role in providing quality patient care. In addition to monitoring patients’ condition and attending to their needs, they get to know patients and interact with family members. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses have been working extremely hard and dealing with tough emotions from confronting the virus every day.
The virus is still raging, but what will the field of nursing look like once cases have waned? Will everything start to go back to normal? Or is what’s happening now in hospitals all over the country “the new normal”? Let’s take a look.
Will We See a Decrease or Increase in the Need for Nurses?
Although it might seem like now is the time to be getting into the nurse workforce, the truth is more complicated. Hospital revenues are down, thanks to the reduction in elective procedures, and nurses are being laid off from their jobs to reduce costs.
As COVID dies down, will all those nurses be hired back? Well, it depends. Some healthcare facilities will undoubtedly need more nurses as patient numbers grow. Our aging population will need care, regardless of what happens with the virus.
Some facilities, however, will likely try to operate with minimal staff. But that doesn’t mean nurses will be out of luck. There are lots of non-traditional job options for people with nursing degrees in specialized facilities, telehealth, and more.
Will Technology Help Provide Flexibility for Nurses?
Automation is viewed with suspicion in most workplaces, but there’s no doubt that robots and other technologies are helping healthcare workers provide excellent care. The good news is that robots aren’t taking jobs away from nurses anytime soon.
Medical robots are already in use around the world, and we can expect to see even more of them after the pandemic. Robots are mostly employed in taking on dull, repetitive, dirty, or dangerous tasks that take nurses away from patient care. Aside from the fact that robots don’t get tired, they also help to reduce staffing needs and can take some of the burdens off of the human nursing staff.
Will Travel Nursing Still be an Option?
Travel nurses have played an integral role in the American health system, helping to make up for temporary staffing shortfalls and pitching in where needed. With travel restricted due to the pandemic, however, some are wondering if travel nursing will even be an option in the post-pandemic world.
Although there might be more caution about viruses after COVID is under control, it’s not likely that travel nursing will go away altogether. The nature of the nursing workforce and the ebb and flow of patients in different areas means that travel nurses will probably still be needed. That’s good news for nurses who enjoy flexibility!
Expect to See an Increase in Forensic Nursing
With our knowledge of forensics growing and a need to investigate deaths that relate to public health, it’s very likely that we’ll see an increase in forensic nursing in the future. Not only will the demand for nurses in specialized fields increase, but we also need nurses who can work with victims of crimes who are experiencing trauma.
Nurse responsibilities are shifting as the demand for medical professionals rises. Specializations like forensic nursing will be important in a post-pandemic world as nurses take on more responsibilities in all kinds of settings.
We’ve Discussed the Future – How Are We Going to Get There?
To experiencing nursing in a post-pandemic world, we have to get past the pandemic first. In many US states, cases are rising with no end in sight. Nurses are burning out from the sustained stress of working with COVID patients, and it’s essential that we work together to get the virus under control. Measures like mask-wearing are important for reducing COVID-19 transmission and keeping people healthy.
Individual actions matter and education is how we enhance individual responsibility. While we can’t change the past, we have to look ahead to a better future. Nurses are giving everything they have to COVID patients, and while their future may be bright, the present can seem very dark. Each person needs to do their part in keeping their community healthy and safe.