For the past several decades, technological advances have swept across the globe, changing and enhancing nearly every aspect of our personal and business lives. The healthcare industry has been in the forefront of this digital revolution to increase effectiveness and productivity as demands have increased dramatically in line with expected population demographic shifts. As a result, a career in nursing can be exciting, lucrative, and stable, as long as its aspirants obtain the latest in professional training and education.
Adapting to new roles
As crisis mounts in the healthcare industry, now might be the best time to upgrade your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or set a goal for becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) in the near future. Roles and responsibilities for nurses, especially for nurse practitioners, have expanded to address the shortages and increasing demand in this field. In addition to these two latter trends, the number of hospitals and offsite treatment facilities is growing to match demand, and candidates wanting to choose this professional field of endeavor can earn their professional credentials by way of online nursing programs, which have also grown accordingly.
Nurse practitioners are the highest paid nurses by state with an average annual compensation level of around $120,000, much greater than the similar average for RNs at $78,000, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Online programs such as the Online MSN-FNP offered by Rockhurst University, focus on how technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the industry. This program ensures that NPs are up to date with the latest health informatics and healthcare technology systems to ensure excellent recording of patient data.
Medical equipment has advanced immensely, but electronic health record systems are at the forefront of every interface with a patient’s health treatment process. The influence of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms as a tool for diagnosis and decision making is also on the rise, and new telemedicine techniques are gaining traction, as well. Is now the time to expand horizons and commit to becoming a qualified nurse practitioner?
The expanding role of the nurse practitioner
Aging population demographics have increased the need for qualified and trained physicians, but shortages are increasing, exacerbated in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most states have attempted to fill the gap by expanding the roles and responsibilities of nurse practitioners. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) recently reported that patients in America today on an annual basis schedule over 1.06 billion visits with an NP, rather than with a physician with an MD (medical doctor) designation.
NPs now prepare diagnoses, order lab tests, prescribe medications, prepare ongoing treatment plans to resolve health issues and prevent disease, and manage the long-term healthcare of their patients. Technology plays a major part in this management process, and NPs are now trained in the latest methods for ensuring the delivery of the most effective health maintenance regimen.
Major technological trends in the healthcare industry
What are the latest methods or trends in technology? No longer does technology focus solely on medical equipment and devices. Applications run the full gamut of the health care process, even to the point of performing remote surgeries with robots. NPs may not encounter these surgical tools, but here are a few areas where advances are ubiquitous:
Electronic health record systems (EHRs): One cannot enter a hospital or another type of healthcare facility without encountering a full-scale digitized approach to handling their healthcare needs. Everything related to one’s care is stored in the software for easy access and follow through. The two major systems are EPIC and Cerner, which command 40% and 23% of the hospital market share, respectively. Competence is vital, a prerequisite, and transferable.
Wearable technology: This term may not yet be a household word, but wearable devices have been around for quite a while, monitoring everything from glucose levels, blood pressure, heartbeat, and more. Remote is the focus of this genre, where AI marries up with electronics to give the patient’s doctor a real-time check on them remotely. The keys are time and cost savings for all involved. Plans are to ship 440 million of these devices in 2024.
Telemedicine: If providing service remotely is the pathway to time and cost savings for consumers and physicians, then there is a silent revolution taking place behind the scenes. In a recent survey highlighted by the American Medical Association (AMA), which polled 90,000 people in 35,000 households, 37% of the surveyed individuals had used a telehealth process in the last year. Coupling this software approach with patient portals provided by EHR systems, the ability to receive service, communicate with one’s primary care physician, and save time in the process has been greatly enhanced, and this trend will increase dramatically.
These three trends are predominant in the entire healthcare system, but there are several other trends taking place, as well. Nurses, especially NPs, will want to embrace a continuous program of professional development that also includes the latest in data driven decision making, along with additional coverage of cybersecurity and privacy issues.
Future prospects for jobs and compensation for nurses
With increasing demand and apparent shortages in the healthcare landscape, job opportunities and compensation levels can only go up from the current day average for NPs.
This data suggests salaries have been on the rise since 2020, and, even though the Covid-19 pandemic has been contained to a widespread degree, there has been no sign of a decline. Compensation can also vary according to the healthcare setting, whether it is in a hospital, a specialized grouping of other healthcare practitioners, or even the offices of private physicians. The home healthcare environment is also another burgeoning option.
There is an ongoing crisis in the healthcare industry — a shortage of qualified professional nurses, especially those that are up to date with the latest technological advances. Technology is impacting every aspect of patient care, and nurses with the proper training in these new procedures will command higher salaries and broader opportunities, whether at a hospital, a physician’s office, or at an outpatient care facility. Online nursing courses offer a convenient way to obtain the necessary training and education to embark on a journey in this exciting field.