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How Is Nursing Changing?

As the entire healthcare system has changed dramatically in recent years, the nursing profession has changed with it. Many factors are leading to these ongoing changes, such as the aging of the population and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The following are some of the changes in nursing as well as trends to keep in mind.

More Education, Skills and Knowledge

A key trend is the need for nurses with more education. In the past, nurses could be quite successful with an associate degree. This is no longer the case; many organizations now require nurses to have a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Some organizations will hire nurses without bachelor’s degrees but require them to earn the degree as a condition of ongoing employment. A BSN gives nurses the clinical skills and knowledge they need to keep up with the ever-changing healthcare system.

A nurse who wants to succeed needs to keep up with career and personal development by completing continuing education courses. Nurses must also focus on developing their soft skills, which include communication, collaboration and problem-solving.

Unconventional Applications for Nursing Expertise

Technology affects most aspects of society today, and the nursing profession is no exception. Although working remotely was not an option for nurses before the digital age, it is now. This is one of the most exciting nursing trends. New opportunities have opened up, including positions in telephone triage and remote case management, making it possible for nurses to work from home or anywhere else. This adds a degree of flexibility to the profession unheard of before.

Another surprising change for nursing involves combining nursing skills and business knowledge. Nurses interested in this career path need to complete advanced studies in business so they can pursue career opportunities in healthcare administration and policy.

Job Search Know-How

After earning the necessary degrees, nurses need to develop excellent job-seeking skills. Available positions may be in hospitals of various sizes and locations. Certain areas have greater nursing demands than others, and nurses are wise to go to those areas if possible.

Another trend in nursing is long-term temporary work, in which hospitals and other healthcare facilities hire nurses for a set time period. A six-month contract is fairly common.

Difference in Job Locations

Traditionally, most nursing jobs were in hospitals. Now, however, more positions are opening in long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, subacute care centers, in-home healthcare settings and other locations. Nurses should think outside the hospital box when seeking jobs; nurses now work for a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, the government and private businesses.

These changes in nursing job locations result from shifts in how and where patients receive healthcare. A variety of factors, such as the increased medical coverage of the Affordable Care Act, are leading to these changes.

Expanded Roles for Nurses

Nurses are taking on increasingly complex and essential positions, partly as a result of increasing instances of complex, chronic health conditions. Nurses are now working as members of interdisciplinary teams. Although many changes in nursing have already taken place, more are coming, so the need for nurses with a solid education and proven clinical skills will only increase.

Learn more about the Columbus State online RN to BSN program.


Turner, Jebra. (2016, March 1). The New Health Care Workplace. Minority Nurse

How Nursing Has Changed in 30 Years — And How It Will Change in the Next 30. (2015, May 7). The University of Vermont Medical Center

4 Health Care Trends That Will Affect American Nurses. (2015, November). American Nurse Association

10 major changes in nursing in the past 10 years. (2012, May).

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