Previously, nurses were assigned to assist doctors and physicians and carry out administrative work. In today’s era, nurses’ work responsibilities and roles are changing rapidly. Despite overlooking administrative functions, nurses manage entire teams and even strive for leadership positions. But how did this change take place? Specifically, the technological advancements in healthcare and emerging diseases have led nurses to expand their duties and take on more challenging roles. The demand for well-qualified professional nurses will continue to rise.
Now, regardless of the size of a healthcare facility, you’ll find many nurses holding key positions and steering the entire organization.
Maintaining pace with evolving roles
While the roles and responsibilities are evolving, it’s critical for nurses to keep pace with all the changes. Each day brings new challenges in the healthcare industry with rising patient influxes and novel viruses. To remain abreast of the developments and trends of the industry, nurses must improve their skillset and advance their knowledge base. This endeavor becomes even more crucial for nurses seeking to land higher, senior positions. However, pursuing education alongside work is both arduous and time-consuming. Given the workload and gruelingly long work shifts, it becomes difficult for nurses to squeeze in time for academic pursuits.
Nonetheless, due to the marvels of technology, nurses can benefit from eLearning while fulfilling professional and personal obligations. Those seeking to land leadership positions can earn post masters DNP online from the comfort of their homes. Online learning allows them to manage work and studies simultaneously while boosting their career prospects.
Now that we have discussed how nurses can keep pace with changing job responsibilities, let’s see how their work is transforming.
1. Technological advancements
In the last decades, we have observed massive advancements in technology that significantly changed the entire medical landscape. Gone are the days when nurses were tasked to fill records and charts manually. Now, technology has improved the efficiency and overall work performance of nurses.
By streamlining complex procedures, the chances of human errors are also reduced. Similarly, electronic health records improve the accuracy and clarity of medical records. Nurses are now focusing on more crucial matters since technology takes care of administrative and menial tasks. Technological advancements also necessitate the need for nurses to hone technical skills to leverage modern tech to its fullest.
2. Fulfilling shortage of physicians
The world’s population is increasing exponentially. With the advancement in technology and treatment planning, the aging population demands more healthcare professionals to take care of them. Such aged individuals look for a family physician or a general practitioner for guidance on the pathway to wellness. Moreover, given the rise in holistic care treatments, people worldwide are demanding it. However, the world is witnessing a shortage of physicians as the demand increases. And here comes the role of nurses and nurse practitioners actively taking part in fulfilling the undersupply of physicians.
Nurse practitioners are equivalent to physicians. They perform minor procedures and can prescribe medicines. Compared to urban areas, the rural areas have a more pronounced shortage of physicians given the unavailability of primary medical resources. In such regions, nurses are actively taking over the responsibilities of physicians and providing critical care needs as well.
3. Frontline workers during the pandemic
Covid-19 has impacted the lives and health of millions of people worldwide. It has adversely affected the overall economy of various countries and their healthcare system. But when it comes to the healthcare system, nurses and physicians have served the nation on the front line. Many nurses had to take on responsibilities and duties they had not previously dealt with before the pandemic. Since curbing the spread of the virus became a necessity, several nurses were seen juggling multiple critical tasks.
In addition to that, they had to tackle the shortage of PPEs, operational equipment, and medicines. Similarly, nurses also had to take care of their mental health as the onslaught of the pandemic was causing burnout. Not to mention how ensuring patients’ mental health alongside declining physical health led to increased work burden. The pandemic indeed resulted in redefining the responsibilities and duties of nurses.
4. Role in the growth of telemedicine
As mentioned above, healthcare is witnessing several advancements thanks to technological breakthroughs. One such advancement is telemedicine which is also known as telehealth. It offers countless benefits to patients, physicians, and nurses. Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to diagnose diseases online and prescribe medicines there and then. It also allows them to review ECG reports, blood pressure, and mental health issues.
Nonetheless, telemedicine is transforming nurses’ duties differently. They utilize telemedicine to coordinate with the physician and discuss treatment plans. Alongside this, they monitor equipment, send reports to the physician for review, and update the patients.
5. Role in community health development
Nurses have always served the community, whether in hospitals or on the field. However, in the modern era, nurses perform more duties than merely looking after patients. They educate the community members by promoting healthy practices and teaching preventive measures. They guide the patients and their family members on what treatment they require and which hospital facility is suitable. Likewise, they help societies unearth all the mental and physical health challenges facing them and devise solutions accordingly.
Moreover, they also serve as patient advocates, helping them receive the care they deserve. In addition to that, they hold workshops and conferences to guide individuals who wish to pursue a career in medicine or nursing. Now, a nurse’s role stretches beyond the confines of a healthcare facility.
Undoubtedly, nursing is an evolving profession. The demand for well-qualified professional nurses will continue to rise. Nonetheless, remaining abreast of all the developments in the nursing field is a challenging task. For this purpose, nurses will have to earn higher academic credentials alongside honing essential skills. While the roles and responsibilities of nurses are fast expanding, so is the need to improve themselves. Therefore, nurses will have to enhance their academic standing to tackle pandemics, fill physician shortages, utilize technology, and leverage technological resources. Apart from taking on leadership roles, nurses will have to participate in research work and policymaking.
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