FUTURE OF NURSING: CONTEMPORARY CHANGES IN THE NP’S ROLE

It has been around 150 years since Florence Nightingale established the first nursing school with an educated workforce to cater to patients. In those 150 years, the nursing profession has evolved immensely and has gotten incredibly versatile. Whereas the job was initially underestimated and looked down upon, recent changes mean that people recognize the profession’s importance. Patient-centered care is now the norm, which emphasizes the role of the NP in helping recovery. 

While doctors treat the patients through surgical procedures or medicine, nurses support the patient’s illness experience. The role of the NP is growing increasingly more important with advances in healthcare. If you’re interested in learning about the recent changes in the NP’s role, keep reading below.

Changes in perceptions of nursing practitioners

The role of the nursing practitioner has changed immensely from what it used to be initially. Most of the focus for nurses was on being polite and caring, as well as being presentable. That meant that the NP serves a caretaking role instead of a medical practitioner. That was especially true for family nurse practitioners. Nurses worked long, grueling hours and dealt with an immense amount of stress dealing with patients. In recent times, however, the perceptions and responsibilities of the NP have significantly changed. 

Healthcare systems are now envisioning changes in education that continue even after NP’s are licensed. The Institute of Medicine aims to increase NP’s percentage with undergraduate degrees to 80% by 2020. The increased levels of education are associated with lower levels of patient mortality and better care. This places increased importance on the role of FNPs or family nurse practitioners. Whereas previously, people considered them as glorified caretakers, FNP’s are now recognized as incredibly capably healthcare practitioners. They can provide diagnoses and are well-trained to treat complex illnesses.

Working towards evidence-based practice

When it comes to any form of medical or scientific practice, the most preferred methods were on empirical evidence. This rule applies to the NP’s role as well, and one of the most important contemporary changes in the NP’s position is the focus on EBP. Evidence-based practice allows healthcare practitioners to convert the best research and clinical experience into treatment protocols. It led to healthcare from NP’s being more defined and improved the care that patients received. The entire curriculum for NP’s got revamped, and practical protocols have changed completely. Therefore, the way nurses practice in the modern world is vastly different from what it used to be once. NP’s are now active across many fields, not just the traditional senior care or military care fields. 

Nursing practitioners dominate primary care

Demographic changes play a huge role in this increasing need for nursing practitioners globally. The senior population is growing exponentially, leading to an increased demand for NPs. This demographic has an increased need for primary care services, which is increasingly provided by nursing practitioners. Nursing practitioners are now as skilled as physicians when it comes to primary care. Newer medical school graduates prefer more specialized careers than primary care, and nursing practitioners fill this demand instead. Furthermore, a more significant population of people living with chronic diseases leads to an increased need for nurses. It has also seen an increase in the salaries of the NP.

Technological changes in nursing

Technological advances have revolutionized scientific and medical fields, and nursing is no exception. Technological changes mean that nursing practitioners are no longer limited to working with only those patients they can physically contact. Telemedicine and telehealth are now increasingly the norm, especially amid an ongoing pandemic. Video conferences are an excellent way for nursing practitioners to reach patients in remote locations and provide care. However, this means that nurses have to adapt to technology.

Furthermore, human contact had been an essential part of the care provided by nurses. In the contemporary world, nursing practitioners need to learn how to give their patients the best care remotely. To develop remote treatment and care protocols, direct involvement of nurses is essential. Therefore, in the contemporary world, NP’s have to help create the best private treatment technology and adapt to it.

Conclusion

As you may have gathered, almost everything about nursing practices and perceptions has changed from what it used to be. The future sees nursing practitioners taking on even more physicians’ responsibilities and catering to a more significant population. At the same time, nurses can expect to deal with an increased number of remote patients while working on technological systems to provide the best care. In comparison, the responsibility on the shoulders of nursing practitioners may increase, as does the importance of their role. Furthermore, nurses can expect higher salaries and a more significant number of males in the workforce. Nursing is an incredibly important profession that is finally getting the recognition it deserves.