As 2015 draws to a close, you may be revaluating your professional goals as a nurse. Is 2016 the year you continue your education to get your Bachelor of Science in nursing degree? Are you going to start making your transition to a care coordination role? These are questions that you may find yourself pondering as the new year quickly approaches. To help you make some of these important career decisions, it is important to become familiar with any nursing trends that may emerge. Here are three to look out for as we welcome 2016.
1. An increase in nursing job opportunities
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of open nursing positions is going to continue climbing in 2016. In fact, from 2012 to 2022 there is expected to be an increase of more than 24 percent, which means that by 2022, there will be a demand for over 1 million new nurses in the U.S. Due to this new demand, nurses may begin relying on continued education programs to move forward with their careers and fill higher positions.
"This demand is driving a change in educational offerings for nurses," explained officials from Supplemental Health Care. "In addition to continued growth in online nursing education, many programs are offering greater flexibility, allowing nurses to continue their education without sacrificing their career."
2. Advanced technology and data exchange
One major shift federal and state agencies have been actively pushing for over the years is greater interoperability among health IT in various care settings. As a result, in 2016 electronic health records are expected to replace tools like fax and mail when it comes to sending patient health information.
Healthcare IT News noted that this will lead to a greater focus on enhanced access to clinical records and, ultimately, improvements in patient engagement. This means nurses may have to become more comfortable with EHRs and mobile technology that will enable them to communicate with patients, as these interactions are expected to increase.
3. A greater need for outpatient care
Hospitals are under a lot of pressure to discharge patients to ensure they have high turnover rates. As these patients still require a certain level of medical attention following their discharge, outpatient care is expected to increase in demand.
According to Nurse Journal, a recent survey by Clinical Advisor found that more than 25 percent of nurses currently work in an office, 14 percent work in hospitals, 15 percent work in a hospital clinic and 20 percent work in independent clinics. The projected growth in demand for outpatient care nurses is around 20 percent. As a result, salary is also expected to see a growth of 19 percent.
If you have been planning on taking the next step with your nursing career, 2016 may be the time. With news of the forecasted increase in demand for different nursing professions and reliance on technology and data exchange, continued education programs will be key to adapting to these changes and moving your career forward.