Healthcare is an industry that’s constantly changing. In 2020 and for years after, healthcare professionals were navigating through the daily impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2024, the industry’s focus has shifted to other healthcare trends as new medicines, techniques, and equipment are being introduced and implemented to improve the industry.
Nucleus’ nurse leader Jen Eden, MSN shares insights on the healthcare trends – from digital care to nursing advancement – that she’s seeing emerge in the industry and what she expects to gain ground in the new year. As the industry changes, one thing is certain – healthcare professionals must stay flexible and adaptable to stay successful in their careers.
Trend #1: An Outpatient Increase
Last year, the majority of healthcare leaders reported an expected increase in outpatient volumes, and Eden believes that trend will continue into 2024. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, there were nearly 140 million ER visits in the U.S. but only 18.3 million of those resulted in hospital admission. Eden expects a growing demand for outpatient treatment and virtual care services to keep patients who don’t need emergency care out of the ER. To curb unnecessary inpatient visits, nurses with experience in surgery centers, urgent care, or virtual triage will likely be in higher demand.
Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence
Eden anticipates a surge in AI involvement in healthcare throughout 2024. Becker’s Healthcare says AI and other tech can help close gaps in patient care and take some tedious tasks off of RNs’ to-do lists. Eden expects to see more AI involvement in some diagnosing, staffing, and clinical strategy areas. While AI involvement may take nurses from the bedside to take on different roles, it will allow RNs to pursue career advancements.
Trend #3: Focusing on DREI
With a more diverse patient population, healthcare organizations are actively working towards building a workforce that reflects this diversity. Diversity, respect, equity, and inclusion initiatives are a continued focus in the industry, fostering inclusive environments that benefit both healthcare professionals and the communities they serve and helping to create company cultures where all feel seen and heard.
Trend #4: Safety First
In the nursing sector, as the patient population exhibits higher rates of mental health issues, the spotlight in 2024 is on safety, acknowledging one of the greatest challenges nurses face at the bedside. To combat an increase in workplace violence against healthcare professionals, organizations are investing in safety initiatives by offering classes for nurses, implementing security badges, and utilizing weapons detection equipment for greater security in facilities.
Trend #5: Retention Tactics
Retention is another key topic for nursing in 2024. With hospitals losing $3.6 to $6.5 million annually due to RN turnover, Eden expects more facilities to provide higher pay for nursing to help improve retention rates. Along with offering competitive salaries, the American Nurses Association suggests eliminating mandatory overtime, allowing team members more authority in decision-making, employee wellness programs, and a flexible culture as other strategies for increasing nurse retention.
Trend #6: Emphasizing the Fundamentals
A noteworthy trend in nursing education is a renewed focus on the basics for new nurses. Eden is noticing more hospitals are holding smaller orientation groups and classroom-based training to emphasize the fundamentals – like taking vital signs, communication, and safe practices – to help new nurses gain the confidence they need to independently handle patient care.
Trend #7: Professional Development
According to Eden, more bedside nurses are focusing on professional development and aspiring to leadership roles in the industry. To encourage this, organizations are implementing programs to help bedside nurses develop leadership skills, which will solve facility leadership shortages and allow nurses to move up in their careers.
Trend #8: Back to BSNs
With the pandemic over, Eden expects to see facilities again requiring new hires to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. This falls in line with a 2010 Institute of Medicine report that recommended at least 80% of nurses be educated with a BSN by 2020. While the pandemic threw that goal off track, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing says nearly 70% of employers have a strong preference for BSN graduates, and Eden believes we will see the requirement make a quick comeback.
Navigating 2024’s Nursing and Healthcare Trends
The healthcare landscape in 2024 is full of opportunities. By staying informed of these changes and learning to adapt, healthcare professionals can not only thrive in their careers but also contribute to the advancement of the industry as a whole.
As you navigate the new year’s nursing and healthcare trends, let Nucleus help you navigate the industry to find the perfect job that will allow you to grow your healthcare career. Visit Nucleus Healthcare’s jobs site to browse current openings, submit your resume to connect with a recruiter, or join our talent community to keep up-to-date with industry insights.