Career, Health/Life

How COVID has changed the nursing profession: 8 key shifts

nursing profession

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From common vernacular to experimental science – there isn’t any aspect of human lifestyle that wasn’t affected by the coronavirus pandemic. After the emergence of COVID-19 took the world by surprise, we can observe its massive impact on healthcare institutions… and how it has particularly changed the nursing profession.

Since January 2020, we’ve seen rapid transformations in the field of nursing. These changes show that our primary caregivers have taught themselves how to combat this disease. For RNs on the frontline, healthcare practices witnessed massive shifts that have altered the future of the nursing profession. These unparalleled changes created newfound respect for RNs across the planet. Let’s see how nurses are adapting in response to COVID:

Ways COVID Changed The Nursing Profession

  1. Concerns about job security:

Nurses are working overtime during this pandemic, and this situation has led to concerns regarding job security among healthcare practitioners. Statistics show that around one-quarter of RNs worked overtime in April-May 2020. Research indicates that COVID-19 negatively influenced American nurses’ occupational satisfaction.

Similarly, studies conducted in the United Kingdom showed that, in April 2020, some 60% of nurses were dissatisfied with their profession. The reasons for this dissatisfaction included an intense workload, other staff members quitting, and the risk of infection. These factors – alternatively – motivated other RNs to assume leadership roles in clinical settings.

  1. Nurses have assumed leadership:

According to Florence Health, around 3 in 4 nurses have taken leadership roles during this pandemic. More nurses believe that colleagues now value their opinions since COVID emerged. Nurses can now pursue dnp programs online to enhance their expertise and become eligible for advanced roles in clinical settings.

A doctorate in nursing practice opens several career pathways for you besides the role as a nurse leader. You can become an educator, a clinical director, or even an APRN (advanced practice registered nurse). This degree will also hone your organizational and problem-solving skills to make you an excellent candidate for assuming management roles among colleagues.

  1. Upskilling replaced by multiskilling:

With the introduction of COVID-19, the responsibilities of the nurses have grown. RNs are likely to do more than merely improve their current abilities. Instead, they’re supposed to acquire various skills and possess qualities considered irrelevant to their profession before. Multiskilling has become the new norm for nurses. They should learn these skills quickly in different areas of specialization for excellence in their profession.

  1. Involvement with social care:

The coronavirus pandemic has hugely affected socioeconomically people and minorities having limited access to high-quality medical facilities. These conditions have motivated RNs to collaborate with social workers to rescue these at-risk communities. RNs have increased their involvement with social workers to protect children, the elderly, the disabled, and other vulnerable individuals during their hospitalization.

Nurses are also working diligently to empower these patients and ensuring that they control medical decisions affecting their health. We can see a quick transformation of RNs into social workers and educators in hospital settings to benefit the general public.

  1. Telehealth has transformed healthcare:

Adopting technologies such as telehealth and telemedicine enabled doctors and nurses to treat their patients effectively during the pandemic. These innovations made healthcare safer while diagnoses more reliable for remotely-located patients, there are healthcare management app to manage all of these.

Though the transition to telecare wasn’t smooth, these innovative measures could partially replace in-person appointments. Also, the global telehealth market – which remained at $38 billion last year – is expected to exceed $191 billion by 2025. Initially, the concept of geographically distant care seemed avant-garde. Still, nurses are turning telehealth into a norm as the pandemic broke the resistance to its global adoption.

  1. Work-life balance has improved:

Though this pandemic has significantly worsened RNs’ mental health, there are indications that this pandemic has taught nurses how to improve work-life balance. Many nurses believe that they have become better team players and better professionals in the healthcare profession.

As per one study conducted last year, more than one-fourth of nurses had a “very good” work-life balance. One-third of them reported having a “good” work-life balance, while 15% of them struggled with balancing two aspects of their lives. These findings can be considered positive.

  1. Nurses have become resourceful:

The pandemic has encouraged nurses to become resourceful and invent fresh ideas to deal with this unpredictable situation. For instance, some nurses move IV drips towards the doorways to eliminate the need to walk inside patients’ rooms.

PPE covers the nurse’s face except for her eyes so they can use goggles to prevent infection. Moreover, some nurses have attached their selfies to gowns to come across as humans instead of faceless beings before patients – a smart gesture, indeed!

  1. Awareness about nurse safety:

In April 2020, it was revealed that 50% of British nurses were working without adequate equipment. By the next month, one-third of them still hadn’t gotten the much-needed PPE. The pandemic made everyone more aware of the unsafe conditions under which RNs worked even before the virus.

Nurses’ requests for PPE were eventually heeded by hospital managers and the general public in 2020. Nurses protested and held press conferences to shed some light on this issue. We saw NNU holding an event at the White House to raise awareness about the sanctity of a nurse’s life. It became evident that providing the proper gear would save RNs from this deadly virus.

Conclusion

Humanity recognized the unforgettable sacrifices of RNs by dedicating 2020 to nurses worldwide. It isn’t possible to deny how much healthcare practitioners have suffered throughout this pandemic. Some 60% of our medical workforce constitutes the nursing profession, while thousands of them have died after contracting COVID.

Since numerous coronavirus vaccinations are available, it is expected that we’ll defeat COVID during this decade. But the pandemic brought specific changes that will remain even after it’s all over. It has become apparent that telehealth and telemedicine shall become necessary components of medical practices globally. Also, more nurses will assume leadership roles to improve the healthcare discipline.

Photo by Павел Сорокин from Pexels