Trends in Nursing Workforce Influencing Nursing Education to Meet Professional Needs

In its report of 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) highlighted the need to nurses to attain higher levels of education and training by having an education system and practice environment which support seamless academic progression. The implication is that trends in nursing workforce are changing nursing education curriculum to equip nurses with the relevant skills, attributes and knowledge to offer quality care to diverse patient populations. The primary goals of nursing education entail preparing nurses to meet diverse needs of patients, function as leaders, and advance science that offers benefits to patients and their ability to deliver safe, quality care (Kleinpell et al., 2022).  Further, nursing education should transform in various ways to prepares nurses who have qualities of working collaboratively and effectively in multidisciplinary and inter-professional teams in complex and evolving health care system in different settings.

One core trend in the nursing workforce is increasing diversity with nurses of varying ages and social backgrounds working in same settings to offer care to also a diverse patient population. The increased diversity in nursing is also leading to different opportunities for specialty practice as nurses specialize to meet the needs of different populations (Stephens et al., 2021). The aging nursing workforce of baby boomers’ generation must work together with younger generations to deliver quality care. Further, nurses from diverse backgrounds have diverse perspectives and skills as well as cultural competencies that are important for teamwork.

The second trend in nursing workforce is the increased responsibilities and assumption of leadership roles. Nurses, especially those in different specialty and with managerial roles, must acquire more skills and attributes to help them deliver care to patients (Hassmiller, 2021). Leadership roles and being primary care providers mean that nurses have moved away from just the care and bedside roles and are now decision makers and policy implementers. Further, the increased need for technology-savvy nurses implies that nurses should be prepared to use different equipment and devices to help them improve care delivery to meet diverse needs, particularly the use of telehealth to reach patients in remote locations like rural areas and increase accessibility.

Nursing education should adapt to meet the evolving needs of the nursing profession in various ways. As stated, nurses need lifelong learning through an education system that recognizes and appreciates seamless learning to prepare them effectively to meet changes in patient care management (Zaccagnini & Pechacek, 2019). The nursing education is adapting to meet these needs by leveraging increased use of technology to offer more access to nursing students, especially those pursuing advanced education. Nurses can pursue advanced courses online while they offer services to patients (Jeffries, 2022). Secondly, redesigning of a curriculum that integrates new trends and practices is critical to preparing nurses to meet these needs. The education system is also leveraging new trends like integration of evidence-based practice to prepare nurses as well as offering leadership courses. 

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