Five Trends in Nursing

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Medical staff and managers meet in a boardroom.

Just decades ago, nurses were not required to wear disposable gloves when working with patients, syringes and catheters were reused, and medical charts were handwritten. It took years before medical professionals recognized the connection between aseptic practices and disease management and sloppy handwriting and patient mortality.

Nursing and nursing management have changed over time as healthcare practices and regulations have evolved. This evolution comes at a rapid pace, including technology-driven advancements and a renewed focus on quality assurance. These changes are underscored by an increased need to understand the data that frames the patient-provider dynamic.

According to the United States Census Bureau, baby boomers will all be older than 65 by 2030, meaning that an estimated 20.6% of the American population will be over 65, according to Statista. This rapid rise in older Americans will coincide with an ongoing nursing shortage, which is projected to reach up to 13 million by 2030 as older nurses retire.

Nursing students working toward an advanced education are trained to manage the evolving and emerging roles in nursing. Programs such as post-master’s certificates in nursing can help nurses develop strong leadership skills and prepare them for a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing trends in nursing.

Issues and Trends in Nursing

Several trends pushing healthcare forward are especially important for nurse managers to bear in mind, as they may impact how care delivery is administered to patients of shifting demographics.

1. Technology and Nursing Management

The fast-paced world of technology has dramatically changed the face of healthcare management with advancements that will require more input from nurses. Emerging technologies that will become vital to the field of nursing include:

Nursing Informatics

The increased incorporation of complex data-driven systems makes it possible to use predictive analytics to identify patient risk and to implement data visualization to measure care efficacy. These tactics can help nurses build targeted care delivery strategies with more efficiency.

Less Invasive Equipment

Innovations such as light-based technology for blood tests and wearable tech that tracks vital signs will make building a patient profile and observing patient health more efficient and less invasive. The integration of these devices into a healthcare strategy will require more input from nurses, thus greater education on the uses and implementation.

3D Printing

A wide range of applications are being explored through 3D printing. These can range from patient-specific surgical models to tissue engineering through the use of living cells. Nurses who are educated in the field of 3D technology are better able to assist with patient understanding.

2. Cultural Competence and Nursing Management

The rich cultural mix of the U.S. population includes people from around the world, bringing varied traditions and practices. The nation’s increased diversity, coupled with shifting socioeconomic factors, has brought greater attention to cultural competence in healthcare — that is, the ability of healthcare professionals to effectively meet cultural, social and linguistic needs for effective patient-caregiver interactions.

Cultural competence is aimed at changing public health practices through widespread education and training. Cultural competency barriers include stereotyping, racism, prejudice and unconscious bias.

Experts recommend nurse managers build a strategy of cultural competence based on the following pillars:

  • Clear efforts to understand the needs of a community
  • A broad definition of culture
  • Acknowledging the needs surrounding language interpretation
  • Continual learning by leaders
  • Cultural competency training for clinical and non-clinical staff members
  • Building cultural competency structures within organizational policies

3. Aging and Nursing Management

Thanks to advances in technology and public health, people are living longer than ever. The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.99 years in 2021 and is projected to surpass 80 by 2029, according to the research platform Macrotrends. By comparison, in 1970, the average life expectancy was 70.78 years. This aging population requires a well-trained workforce that is able to meet the complex healthcare needs of the elderly.

This demographic can already benefit from the work of qualified nurse managers. According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of adults age 65 and older have one or more chronic conditions that must be managed by a coordinated care team, and 68% have two or more. Because of this, it will be increasingly vital for nurse managers to train staff to design chronic care management strategies that emphasize patient proactivity, which can help reduce patient visits and costs and improve patient health.

4. Nursing’s Role in Quality Assurance

Quality care and practices largely depend on nurses, often the most visible component of any healthcare institution. Quality-assurance nurses protect patient health and safety by following standards set by state laws and their practicing institutions. They ensure facilities follow standards set by The Joint Commission, an independent nonprofit that accredits and certifies more than 22,000 health care organizations nationwide.

QA nurses review incident reports and ensure patient and staff safety. In some cases, they research the credentials of staff medical professionals who require a license or certification. They also review programs to increase the quality of care and define measurable outcomes. With technological advances that require less human interaction, it has become increasingly important to have quality-assurance nurses oversee healthcare practices.

5. Nurse Well-Being and Nurse Management

The pandemic accelerated nurse burnout, compassion fatigue, and other issues that can drive professionals to leave the profession. At the same time, studies documenting the pandemic’s impact on nurses’ mental and psychological health have clarified the need to support nurses well-being even after the pandemic subsides. Nurse managers can play a vital role in developing programs and strategies to minimize nurses’ stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Lead Others in a Crucial Field

The only sure thing about the future of healthcare is that it will change. Nurse leaders must embrace these changes to keep their organizations at the forefront of care.

Duquesne University’s online post-master’s nursing certificate program is specifically designed to offer nurses with an MSN degree expertise in the latest trends and innovations in care delivery. Our program offers six nursing certificate options: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Executive Leadership and Health Care Management, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner, Forensic Nursing, Nurse Education and Faculty Role, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Learn how we can help give you the competitive edge to move healthcare forward.

Recommended Readings

Supporting Front-Line Nursing Staff During a Crisis

Using Telehealth in Nursing Education

Working with Children in the Foster Care System


Administration for Community Living, Administration on Aging

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, Telehealth

Becker’s Hospital Review, “World Could Be Short 13 Million Nurses by 2030, Report Finds”

Formlabs, “5 Innovative Use Cases for 3D Printing in Medicine”

HealthTech, “The Impact of Technology in Nursing: Easing Day-to-Day Duties”

The Joint Commission, About Us

Macrotrends, U.S. Life Expectancy 1950-2022

The Medical Futurist, “8 Digital Health Technologies Transforming the Future of Nurses”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030”

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century”

National Council on Aging, “The Top 10 Most Common Chronic Conditions in Older Adults”

Patient Engagement HIT, “What Does Cultural Competence Mean for Healthcare Providers?”

Statista, Share of Old Age Population (65 Years and Older) in the Total U.S. Population from 1950 to 2050

United States Census Bureau, “Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060”

Wiley Online Library, “COVID-19: Supporting Nurses’ Psychological and Mental Health”