The world is changing, and technology has accelerated that change by years compared to the history of previous innovation. And nursing, as well as the healthcare industry at large, is no exception. Labor shortages will continue to be a primary concern in the next year. But there are many more changes coming. Those who are comfortable in their chosen careers are about to see things start to change dramatically.
As we continue to soldier on through the pandemic, telehealth services evolve. We’re becoming more technologically integrated and better positioned to embrace newer technologies like artificial intelligence to speed up diagnostics or virtual management for chronic conditions. Let’s take a look at the top nursing trends expected to shake things up in 2022.
The emergence of Telehealth as Standard Care
Patients have been interested in virtual medicine for now, but many providers have been slow to adopt it. That all changed in 2020 when the world effectively shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Now, two years in, telehealth accounts for at least one-quarter of all medical visits.
Now that the healthcare industry has adapted, telehealth services will remain a large part of standard care. Nurses will interact with patients in new ways, with a more technology-intensive focus. While patients will have access and control over their healthcare, nurses will be expected to routinely leverage online portals to make virtual care visits and conduct patient-care activities like prescription refills.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to Guide Clinical Decision-Making
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will augment nursing, easing the burden and allowing nurses to spend more time connecting with human patients. For example, many hospitals are currently testing out AI-powered infection control technology that will monitor patients and assess risks of infection, alerting nurses when clinical intervention is necessary.
AI tools will also take the place of most of the administrative load that nurses face. The profession will change to focus more on patient care and human interaction and less on taking vitals and filling orders, and machines will be in place to monitor vitals as needed.
Virtual Care for Chronic Disease Management
Patients living with chronic conditions are no strangers to their doctor's offices. But with recent developments in technology, they can move a little more freely . Doctors and nurses will monitor chronic patients with conditions like diabetes, lupus, Crohn's, and more without the need for frequent visits to the clinic.
Smart medical devices will monitor and upload patient data to a central access point where nurses can review the data and communicate with the patient. Many of these tools are already in use for diabetes and cardiac patients. And we expect the medical device industry to continue to grow with an influx of new technologies starting in 2022.
At Carsten’s, we’re dedicated to improving the quality of care by supporting nurses with the tools that they need to do their jobs well. We’re passionate about simplifying workflows. Browse our ideas and begin reimagining your workspace.
Resilience is Key to Retaining the Nursing Workforce
Nursing is a high-stress occupation, and the current climate that includes an ongoing pandemic and significant labor shortages continue to stress the field. Nurses who already had a full plate before the pandemic are experiencing burn out. And new nurses entering the field are leaving just as quickly. There seems to be no end in sight.
It will be up to healthcare facilities to restore safe working environments where nurses feel comfortable and to take steps to incorporate technologies to ease the burden placed on them by staffing shortages. This also means that there will be a growing focus on emotional support programs in the workplace to help prevent burnout.
Healthcare Data Will Influence Quality Improvement and Health Equity
Side by side with the growth of AI, we are also embracing data in business and in healthcare alike. What this means is that facilities will collect, collate, and use patient data to make reliable decisions about services and care options. A complete breakdown of patients and treatments by race and ethnicity will help us identify patterns and provide more equitable care.
Studies have found time and again that our biases influence the level of care that we provide to our patients. Certain groups tend to have higher mortality rates largely because they don’t receive the same attentive medical care that the same patients of different ethnicities receive.
We expect that equitable care will become front and center in nursing as there is a push to look beyond our bias and treat every patient group with the same level of care regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status.
New Technologies will Transform Nursing Education
Filling the labor shortages in the nursing industry will require a big effort to reskill and upskill an existing workforce to fill open positions. The old methods of classroom and clinical instruction simply won’t work fast enough. But modern ed-tech that uses virtual reality simulations in learning and accessible distance learning can make it easier to teach larger classes effectively.
Students entering nursing programs will have access to a wider variety of options than their predecessors experienced. Traditional classroom and clinical settings will still be available, but those who wish to engage virtually or augment their clinical experience with simulations will also be able to do so.
The Bottom Line on Nursing Trends for 2022
As we move forward in the new year, there are many big changes coming for nursing that will help alleviate some of the current strain. From personal wellness initiatives for nurses who are on the brink of burnout to high-tech tools that will make their jobs easier, nursing is shifting back to patient care. Nursing will still be an in-demand career long after the pandemic has ended. But what it looks like today and what it will look like in the coming years is currently being shaped by technology.
At Carsten’s, we embrace growth. Throughout our 130+ year history, we have evolved to meet the changing needs of the healthcare industry with the tools and equipment needed to get their jobs done well. We look forward to a new year and new challenges ahead. Shop our catalog.