Nurses are at the forefront of an evolutionary wave in health care. Whether we take leadership or not will determine nursing’s future.
These ten trends can revitalize nursing if nurses break free from the confines of the medical model and use their education and skills to become wave riders.
1. Aging Boomers
Boomers are living longer. Quantity of life is driving a desire for better quality of life. This generation wants to learn how to stay vital, mobile, healthy and productive. They are looking for guidance in health promotion and wellness, not only disease prevention and treatment.
2. A 2nd Boom
Boomers Grandchildren are driving a huge demand for family health information and support for new and working moms. From birthing to family health education and sick child care, family systems need and want professional advice and innovative strategies to raise a brighter, stronger next generation.
3. Information explosion
Internet access provides health consumers with tons of information, but not the knowledge or wisdom to know how to use it without getting confused. They need knowledgeable health professionals as gatekeepers, trusted advisors, or health system navigators.
People are increasingly spending out of pocket dollars for alternative and complementary health care. Nursing education focuses on systems, whole person, life cycle perspectives that can guide in selecting appropriate options along a continuum of care.
5. Consumer driven health care
As consumers rely less on employer health coverage and more on personal health spending, they are seeking innovative and home based solutions for care including advanced home monitoring, telephone consultation, personalized care, and individualized treatment.
6. High Tech – High Touch
The need for personal connection, listening, and caring has never been higher. Nurses consistently rank first in every consumer poll for most trusted professional.
7. Shortages and Cost Containment
Professional shortages and a drive to contain costs, creates a push to use mid-level and low-level providers for technical care. Nurses will continue to be driven away from the institutional bed side. With decreasing numbers of people in institutional care, face to face professional health care will be delivered in the home and community.
Health information and care will be delivered on a global, mobile, remote, phone and internet basis. Nursing phone advice lines are increasingly popular with consumers.
9. Back to Basics
With increased interest in information and coaching on proper food and nutrition, supplements, stretching, meditation, simplicity, life balance, joy in work, and relationships wellness and health coaching is a growing field.
People are realizing that doctors, medication and illness care are not going to keep them well. Employers, third party payers and common sense are driving consumers to take health care into their own hands. This trend will continue to drive an increase in self care information and reduction in in-patient and long term care.
Tomorrow’s nurses are not working under a doctor’s direction, or in an institution. To remain viable, nursing will have to think beyond the institutional medical care box.
Consumers are desperate for professional nurses to fill the need for proactive community
and home based health care.
Tomorrow’s nurses will be innovative community health leaders, who develop and deliver services directly meeting the changing needs of health consumers.
Progressive, professional nurses will form cooperatives, and creative health delivery systems that support families throughout the life span. They will provide continuity of health information and care while supporting people to navigate an ever more specialized and complex techno-medical system.