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Seven macro trends impacting today’s nurse leaders

June 27, 2019

3. The nursing shortage will increase due to many factors
There are nearly 4 million registered nurses in the United States. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a current worldwide shortage of more than 7 million nurses, a number that is expected to jump to 12.9 million by 2035. Factors contributing to this shortfall include population growth, longer lifespans, burnout, a retiring workforce and a lack of nursing faculty and clinical sites to deliver enough new graduates.

High nurse turnover rates also impact the shortage. It is common for some nurses to leave the profession within a year because they didn’t receive the proper orientation or the support they needed to be successful in their position. The result is high costs for healthcare organizations: NSI reports that the average hospital loses $6.6 million per year in replacing nurses due to high turnover.

4. Opportunities for higher-qualified nurses will grow to meet the changing needs of healthcare
U.S. healthcare is shifting to a wellness model of care, which means more highly qualified nurses are needed in the specialties of population health, prevention and wellness. This is the perfect opportunity for nurses to obtain higher degrees to learn how to better meet the healthcare needs of people. Consequently, almost 30,000 bedside nurses each year head back to school to obtain an advanced practice degree, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). While this is a good thing for advanced practice, it leaves a significant impact on the number of nurses at the bedside.

5. Decreasing care variability improves patient outcomes
Care variability can notably impact patient outcomes and costs. The best way to decrease the frequency of care variability is to standardize policies, procedures and technologies so that a patient who has a heart attack can expect the same high-quality care whether he/she is in Philadelphia or Seattle, New York or Sydney. All healthcare professionals, especially nurses, need anytime-anywhere access to the latest healthcare information to provide the highest quality, evidence-based care.

6. Technology is changing how we access evidence-based information and approach healthcare
Documents are no longer stored on paper. Instead, they have been replaced with electronic healthcare records (EHRs), now the standard in U.S. and many other countries. While EHRs automatically update a patient’s status to supply a clinician with real-time information, they still require that a chunk of time be dedicated to reviewing or updating the patient record, cutting into the time nurses could be spending with patients. To help ease this burden, information specialists are evaluating ways technology can decrease documentation burden and evolve how healthcare information is used during workflow such as:

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