With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the country, healthcare workers have continued to be in the spotlight and finally get the recognition they deserve. Nurses in particular have had the spotlight shined on them for their tireless efforts, and the fact that there are nursing shortages across the country has also been well-documented. In fact, for anyone eyeing a career in nursing, there has never been a better time to get into the field, as they are very much in-demand with plenty of job opportunities available.
As we look forward to what the rest of 2021 will bring, here are the top trends in nursing that are predicted to pop up.
The Shortage Will Continue to Grow
Despite the fact that it is well-known there is a shortage of nurses across the country, this trend is expected to continue rather than die down. What this means is that, unfortunately, more states and more regions will begin to feel the pinch and experience nursing shortages. Some experts even predict the shortage will rapidly increase as many nurses are retiring right now, or just suffering from burnout. Combine that with the stress that is being put on the healthcare system right now, and it’ll lead to shortages across the board.
Nurses Will Be Able to Demand Higher Salaries
However, this is good news for anyone looking to become a nurse in 2021 as they will be able to demand a higher salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for nurses in 2019 was $73,300, with nurses working in government and hospitals earning the highest salaries.
Telehealth Will Continue to Spread Across the Country
A big trend that has come out over the past couple of years is the wider use of telehealth services. Telehealth, also referred to as telemedicine, has been especially useful during the pandemic as it has allowed people to access medical care that may otherwise be in short supply. While this form of healthcare hasn’t always been popular with patients, it seems to be winning people over with more and more accepting it and even welcoming it into the mix.
Telehealth has been able to make use of such things as phone calls and videos calls to meet with patients virtually. However, that doesn’t mean in-person visits won’t exist in the future; it just means there will likely be a combination available, which ultimately gives patients much more access. As a nurse, virtual patient care could become one of the biggest trends to look forward to.
Online Nursing Programs Will Become More Popular
Where it used to be that nursing students had to attend a school in person, over the past decade or so, online schooling has really made a mark in terms of higher education. These online programs are now highly respected and regarded in the field of healthcare, and have opened the door to a whole new generation of nurses.
These online programs mean people in rural areas now have the same access to schooling. The programs also tend to be more flexible and affordable than traditional in-person programs, again, making them more widely accessible to students. This is most certainly one of the more exciting trends because any time that schooling can be made more accessible will only benefit the industry, especially an industry that is experiencing shortages.
Paying Close Attention to the Mental Health of Nurse
This past year in particular has been incredibly stressful on people all across the country and the world. For nurses, they have gone through a level of stress and trauma never before seen in the country, and it has taken its toll. With that said, watch for a focus on mental health and well-being to be a trend in 2021, as more attention is given to the topic, and resources are opened up for nurses dealing with mental health issues.
Many of today’s nurses feel stressed out, have a hard time relaxing at home, are over-worked, tired, anxious, and are having a hard time coping with the emotions that the pandemic has caused. While the pandemic isn’t ending any time soon, the fact that there is a spotlight on the mental health of nurses is certainly a step in the right direction.
More Nurses Will Look to Specialize
Here’s another trend that may be of interest to anyone looking to get into the field of nursing. One way to better your odds of finding a job right out of school, and demand a higher salary, is to choose an area of specialty. Nursing specialties are predicted to be another hot trend this year.
Some of the top specialties include nurse researcher, nurse case manager, endocrinology pediatric nurse, and nurse midwife just to name a few. These specialties give students a way to focus on their own areas of interest and skills so they can really excel in their chosen career.
It May Get Harder to Get into Nursing Programs
What may come as a surprise to people is that despite the current shortage of nurses, it is predicted that nursing programs and schools may become harder and more competitive to get into. There are a number of factors that are contributing to this, with one being the fact that nurses need to go about hands-on clinical placement even if they are doing online schooling. The pandemic has thrown a wrench into this for many students, and there are limited clinical placement openings right now. The hope is that this starts to ease as the pandemic becomes more controlled.
An Interesting Field to Get Into
There are plenty of fields that have suffered tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to them having to lay off thousands, but the healthcare industry is one that has been forced to grow and expand. In terms of nursing, there are a number of interesting trends that are popping up for 2021, which is helping to spark interest in the career.