One trend that nurses can be very excited about is finally having some days off. As vaccines continue to be distributed, hospitalizations for COVID-19 are slowly but surely lessening. As hospitals go back to some semblance of the operations they had prior to the pandemic, a few things learned during the COVID response are expected to remain in place.
In addition, healthcare is an ever-changing field, and the nursing field, in particular, experiences evolutions and changes very frequently. Here is a closer look at three trends in nursing that are expected to continue long after nurses have finally moved on from COVID-related care.
One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic was an added trust in online healthcare. Because so many hospitals were working past capacity to deal with COVID patients, many services were given to patients via Zoom or a similar online communications program. This is known as telehealth or telemedicine, and though it became a necessity during the pandemic, many patients enjoyed the service for things like simple consultations or check-ins.
Telehealth also allows for flexibility on the side of the nurses and doctors providing the care, and the majority of feedback was positive from that side of the proverbial coin as well. In addition to the flexibility it affords both parties, telemedicine does not require an office space, meaning less money spent by all parties, resulting in better value for the same care.
In addition to care, web-based education also made for many forced improvements amidst stay-at-home orders. In healthcare, training was able to be held completely online, and even college credits were earned via the remote setting. For many aspects of knowledge building, this online setting was great for nurses, but it did not allow for hands-on training. Moving forward after COVID, nurse education is expected to take a more hybrid form with online and in-person aspects.
This is an aspect of artificial intelligence, and machine learning in healthcare has been responsible for many advancements. These advancements give way to new trends, and a heavy dependence on AI and machine learning is expected in the future. Machine learning is pretty much what it sounds like. Programmers create systems that collect data, and then “learn” from new data and are able to provide analysts with predictions based on patterns in said data.
For nurses, two areas where these advancements in AI are already being utilized are training and imagery.
Hands-on training is a must in many focuses of nursing, and technology is allowing for this practice period to exist wholly on robotic patients. These robotic patients are able to utilize their pre-programmed machine learning when nurses work on them and are able to give real-time feedback on a given procedure. In imagery, including ultrasounds and MRIs, machine learning sees trends in a given patient’s photo records and can instantly compare the data to an almost infinite number of previous patients’ data to provide insight as to what might happen next to a patient regarding a given ailment.
Holistic and Integrated Care
Holistic care is often referred to as alternative medicine, and integrated care is a combination of traditional medicine and alternative medicine. Holistic care in nursing means a focus on the mind-body connection that affects a given ailment, rather than focusing on the ailment itself. Both officially and unofficially, this approach is becoming more popular for the simple reason that it improves the patient experience, but as it also focuses on using less pharmaceutical drugs, it is becoming an appealing option for many patients with dependency issues.
As vaccines continue to be rolled out, the current nursing trend will continue to be providing care to those individuals affected by the pandemic. But, as the end is finally in sight, and some semblance of normalcy is returned to healthcare workers, web-based care, artificial intelligence, and holistic care are all expected to become more frequently used by nurses.