Due to the massive population boost in recent decades, the demand for doctors and nurses has reached an all-time high. Things reached a crescendo after the pandemic and its impacts became apparent to the whole world, especially the United States.
As of now, the demand for nurses has peaked and there is a definite shortage. While this shortage is often quite taxing on active nurses, it has also allowed for higher payments, higher employment rates, more opportunities, and reliable job assurance. So, what does the future of nursing hold for working and aspiring nurses next? Stay with us as we explore the advancements and opportunities in the field to find answers.
Selective Further Growth
As mentioned, there is already an active demand and even a significant shortage of available nursing professionals in some locations. So, what does the near future hold for nurses in terms of employability and professional growth? As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),
- Job opportunities will grow between 2021 – 31 at an estimated 6% for Registered Nurses (RN).
- Job Opportunities will grow by an astounding 40% between 2021 – 31 for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives.
In line with the previously mentioned estimates, the shortage of registered nurses has almost reached indefinite stagnancy. Therefore, the rate of growth in job opportunities for RNs is expected to be no higher, if not a bit lower than the national average for at least quite some time to come. In other words, the coming years will likely see medical establishments trying to fill their present vacancies, rather than creating new ones for RNs.
As per the same BLS report linked above, that is clearly not how things are expected to pan out for more qualified, specialist nurses. An expected minimum growth of 40% is rare to see in any profession, especially when the national average for job growth rate is anticipated to range between 5% and 8% during the same time period.
A Marked Increase in the Number of Highly Qualified Nurses
As is always the situation in stagnant sectors, the growth in income has also reached stagnation point. For RNs, this will play out differently because the stagnancy here is that of deficiency and not oversaturation. As a result, registered nurses are neither likely to lose their jobs, nor are they going to have trouble finding one in the foreseeable future.
However, regular nurses are also not likely to see their pay scales growing at a significantly higher than average rate in the coming years. They might need to stay satisfied with average pay growth, while contending with the constant pressure of making up the deficit in nursing staff. It is neither the ideal, nor the worst situation to be in.
Naturally, this effect is expected to prompt more nurses towards seeking higher qualifications in relevant fields. More RNs will seek BSN and MSN degrees to build a more rewarding career for themselves, while more APNs with MSN degrees will seek to complete their education with a DNP in their respective fields.
It’s not just that the present nurse practitioners (NP), Nurse anesthetists, midwives, and other advanced practice nurses will be earning more. It’s also the fact that even newly qualified APNs will continue to enjoy increasingly higher employability than even regular registered nurses till at least 2031. Note that any APN is qualified to work as an RN and that has always been the case. This is not what’s being discussed here.
Nurses with advanced degrees will enjoy higher employment growth in job roles that are adequately suited to their new qualifications. An estimated 30,200 new jobs will become available to DNP nurses in the aforementioned fields per year. If you are a working RN interested in taking advantage of the potential that a Doctorate degree in your field of choice can bring, there has never been a better time to complete your education. You will find both guidance and answers to all the common questions such as what does a DNP do exactly here.
Digital Tools Dedicated to Aid Nurses Will be Developed at a Much Higher Rate
Growth in any field of work is almost always followed up by growth in IT solutions that are specific to that sector. Professional applications are developed to aid professional practices across a vast range of medical fields, but they tend to be minimal when:
- There is little scope for specific solutions that can cater to the concerned field of work.
- There is little demand for dedicated applications and complete solutions in that field.
That has already started to change and it’s going to change even more down the line. More precisely, expect to see growth in both the quantity and the quality of assistive AI to support better decision-making. It already exists, but they are now being finetuned and improved to help nurses with clinical decisions that usually fall on their shoulders.
APNs like all nurse practitioners (NP), midwives, and nurse anesthetists will find them extremely useful, especially in states where they have Full Practice Authority (FPA). FPA does come with its share of responsibilities and further development of clinical AI assistance for APNs will empower them to save more lives.
Expect the gap between nurse practitioners and general physicians to decrease further down the line. While that is not likely to happen in every US state even in the near future, more states will inevitably start granting full practice authority to adequately qualified and experienced nurses. This will be a decision long pending and one borne of several established facts.
The most important of those facts is the current and estimated shortage of doctors in the US. There is an even greater shortage of affordable healthcare in the country. It’s not uncommon for people in both rural and urban areas to dread a visit to the doctor’s clinic because they don’t have or can’t afford insurance. APNs with FPA do not work for free, but they do not charge nearly as much either.