4 trends nurses can expect in 2022

From job opportunities to support, the pandemic has shaped the future of health care

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t change everything, but it changed a lot — both personally and professionally. That’s especially true for the nursing profession.

“The crisis pushed nursing into the spotlight, bringing plenty of praise but not enough change to a profession already in crisis,” Daily Nurse wrote last month. “Nursing today may very well make 2022 the year of change needed to address systemic issues that have affected nursing since before the pandemic and the new problems that resulted from it.”

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Now that vaccines are available and COVID-19 cases are falling, what can nurses expect for the future? Daily Nurse looks at four trends health care professionals should expect to see.

Job growth

Staff shortages were already nearing crisis levels before the pandemic.

“Our health care system faces immense challenges,” the American Nurses Association wrote. “Staff shortages brought about by cost-cutting decisions, an aging population, increased patient complexity and need, and an aging workforce places stress on working conditions for nurses and affects patient care and overall outcomes.”

Daily Nurse points out many nurses are retiring or leaving the profession because of burnout. Combined with the current shortages, the will likely always be nursing jobs available.

Increase in home health

More and more older Americans are choosing to age in place, which means there will be an increasing demand for home health nurses.

“The demand will increase even more if the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 passes, greatly expanding Medicare patients’ access to home health services,” Daily Nurse wrote.

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Rise in online learning

Grade schoolers haven’t been the only students learning online during the pandemic. Although some nursing programs were already available for virtual learning, COVID forced many others to the internet.

Daily Nurses pointed out research that shows online learning has benefits, like better retention, that support continuing online or hybrid learning.

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Support and well-being

According to an ebn report, 500,000 nurses are expected to leave the workforce in 2022.

A survey conducted by IntelyCare Research Group examined how the working conditions during COVID have affected the mental health of nurses. A majority of the 500 nurses surveyed — 56% — said they are sacrificing their mental health for their job. Of those, 41% said they are considering leaving the nursing profession for good.

“The number of nurses leaving patient care needs to be a wake-up call for health systems to prioritize the well-being of their staff,” Daily Nurse wrote.

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