How CoVID-19 Will Impact the Future of Nurses?
The novel coronavirus has profoundly impacted our planet for the last several months and as a result, has completely changed the healthcare industry’s landscape. It has highlighted many shortcomings in our healthcare delivery systems. Problems like shortage of adequate testing kits and proper contact tracing have overwhelmed healthcare and hospital workers in the last few months. The crisis added a sense of urgency to these much-needed reforms.
Our public health nurses and the nursing unions have been continuously working on the front lines, fighting for protection, taking notes, and demanding change for the betterment of the nursing profession.
At the same time, many nurses and students considering nursing as a career are now worried about their future. While experts say there is nothing to worry, yet, there’s no denying the fact that the nursing profession will undergo a set of new changes. These changes will define the new norms for the nursing profession and will pave the path for the future. Several restrictions across different countries are now easing with exceptions as we enter a new state of ‘unlock.’
Here are a few ways which will change the future of nursing for the better after the unlock.
- Public Awareness Regarding Nurse Safety
- Meeting Global Healthcare Goals
- Opportunities in Telehealth
- Publicly getting the credit, nurses have deserved all along
1. Public Awareness Regarding Nurse Safety
The COVID-19 crisis has compelled nurses to provide patient care without proper personal protective equipment (PPE). An unsafe working environment is not new for nurses. They have been working in hazardous situations with disruptive and violent patients, uncertain staffing ratios, and other occupational hazards for years. The lack of PPE and our healthcare system’s total unpreparedness to safely manage patient care during the pandemic is now in the spotlight.
After years of raising their voice, the public and hospital administrations will now finally listen and work towards nurses’ demands around safety.
2. Meeting Global Healthcare Goals
Most healthcare workforce discussions are focused on hospital-based care, but very little attention is being paid to the health of the nursing workforce. Especially when the nursing workforce is expanding both in size as well as on the professional scale. However, the scale of this expansion is still insufficient to meet the rising demand.
World Health Organization calls for creating at least 6 million new nursing jobs by 2030 to achieve global health development goals. There is an increase of 4.7 million nurses between the years 2013 and 2018. The total nursing population is about 27.9 million. There is an unequal distribution of the nursing population, as over 80% of nurses are from countries that account for 50% of the world’s population. The report suggests that to address the shortage by 2030 in all countries, the total number of nurse graduates should increase by approximately 8% per year on average.
3. Opportunities in Telehealth
The pandemic has changed many aspects of the nursing profession, including how nurses provide patient care.
One such service that has come into focus is Telehealth. Telehealth enables doctors to treat their patients from far for the time being. Telehealth can be very beneficial to part-time nurses or someone who wants to provide one to one care but doesn’t want to be in a 12-hour work shift. By adopting a telehealth strategy, nurses can address unmet and essential health needs post-COVID-19. To realize telehealth’s potential, innovations on the side of policymakers, nurses, public healthcare departments, and health systems are required. Some of the significant benefits of telehealth nursing include shorter shifts, part-time options, wider reach (rural areas), and even remote work or work from home.
4. Publicly getting the credit, nurses have deserved all along
Most of the nurses admit that they enter the nursing profession to help humankind. Nurses are your most appropriate option when it comes to taking major population health decisions, provide guidance in health crises, and address social drivers.
With social and medical expertise, nurses deliver community and patient-centric holistic services to encourage high-quality and affordable care. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted all the tiers of nursing roles’ untapped capacity, including leadership, advocacy, research, clinical practice, and health policy.
Finally, nurses are being acknowledged for the value they bring to our communities and the healthcare system through word of mouth, social media, or news.
The pandemic has highlighted every flaw in our healthcare delivery systems. It has shown us how we lack coordinated and effective response to population health crises. To effectively address these gaps, both during the immediate crisis and in the long-lasting havoc, we will require the nursing community’s close leadership and engagement.
Moreover, the nursing community’s unique outlook and expertise in mitigating health inequities, managing infectious outbreaks, innovative patient-centered delivery models, will further be the social drivers of wellness and health. These capabilities of nurses are important now, more than ever, in keeping our healthcare system robust and vigilant.
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