Nursing, in the beginning, was all about gender and willingness rather than formal medical training. Earlier, women used to learn nursing skills from mothers or women in the same profession. The discipline of nursing was an extension of their role of caretaker at home. Today the part of nursing has changed drastically with extensive training and diversified staff. The profession has gained prestige today that was not there before.
The role played by nurses has changed owing to the evolution of healthcare technologies. Studies have suggested that nursing has become a defined profession. This evolution in nursing is due to modified care practices, new drugs, and techniques. Another critical factor is the shortage of skilled nurses and care practitioners worldwide.
Factors that drive changes in the nursing sector include fragmentation, access problems, costs, results, and disparities. The greatest need for change happened due to cost and quality concerns with changing disease types. The nursing sector has adapted various changes with incremental steps to achieve better results in lowered costs for years. Nurses now play a crucial role in transforming healthcare by becoming fully-contributing members of the professional team. These roles require an enhanced set of knowledge around wellness with a renewed focus on patient care and quality improvement.
Fundamental Role Changes in Nursing
Apart from traditional care practices, some significant role changes in the nursing sector include:
- Certified Nurse Midwife
The certified nursing midwife program started as a graduate program to award certificates and offer healthcare management for pregnancy and childbirth. The roles have now broadened in this era. Practitioners can now order a laboratory test after diagnosis, therapy management, and prescribe suitable medication. With the evolution in nursing, various universities offer midwife program giving undergraduate and post-graduate level courses.
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners emerged as a line of caregiving profession with an emphasis on giving healthcare access to children. Today nurse practitioner salaries with better growth chances have allowed professionals to choose it as a career. Today’s role has now shifted to ordering diagnostic results, interpreting laboratory tests, making referrals to specialists, and conducting physical assessments. Some nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications based on their training and unavailability of a physician.
- Nursing Professional Specialists
The role goes by another name that is nurse educator are the ones who help design, implement and evaluate academic curriculum for trainees. The role of nursing professional specialists in this era has become academically advanced as compared to the past. The global shortage of nurses has also increased the value of these academic professionals. The reason is that most of these nurses take positions as part-time teachers in their respective areas of expertise. Unlike in the past, you need a minimum of a post-graduate degree to pursue a nursing educator career. To promote yourself to a higher teaching position, you need to offer services as a professor or associate professor.
- Nursing Advocacy
The increase and changes in professional nursing practitioners’ roles have given rise to the following standards. The health care system stems from bodies like the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) to implement rules. Such bodies help create nursing regulations and ensure that healthcare facilities abide by them. These bodies define the role of advanced nursing practitioners in the provision of medical services.
Areas of Change
Training for nurses had a very rudimentary beginning with no formal skill set available. Caretakers who did not have proper training and care for the sick relied on mothers and family members. Today the focus has shifted to quality training and organized education to practitioners. Nurses today have a wide selection of programs, courses, degrees, and specializations to choose from. The care system has a primary focus on patient care and academics while treating the patients like family.
- Care Setting
Earlier healthcare and nursing environments were on a battlefield or home for women related to the profession. Hospital visits were only for those extraordinarily sick or injured, so home care was the only practice. With early nursing programs, nurses started to work in hospitals as full-time employees. These professionals worked as people with healthcare knowledge and not the orderly who have to change bedpans only. Today, the care settings include hospitals, doctor’s offices, correctional facilities, or the military. Some nurses also travel to fulfill nursing needs or to address training.
Nursing responsibilities have evolved into a fully functional career with professional-level skills. The academic offerings of nursing studies allowed physicians to attain higher levels of education. It opened doors for nurses to engage themselves in a more decision-making role. The perception of nursing responsibilities have changed and has allowed the profession to be more respectable.
- Patient Care
The advancements in healthcare technologies have shifted the focus of nursing to a more patient-care point. Patient care is an essential aspect in the healthcare setting for all medical professionals. Their care is the factor around which the profession revolves.
The nursing profession has seen its fair share of leaps and bounds over time. Fortunately, it has adopted changes in the related fields and combine them with its practices. With better training, growing responsibilities, and patient care, nursing has saved countless lives and has become a respected profession.