With 2023 right around the corner, you might wonder what the nursing profession can expect in the new year. Healthcare has changed since the onset of COVID-19 a couple years ago, and many have predicted trends in nursing to reflect that. Let’s take a look at four big nursing trends to watch for in 2023.
The Nursing Shortage Will Continue
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a projected 500,000 experienced nurses will retire by the end of 2022, adding to the approximately 500,000 who left the bedside in the last two years. Many factors play into this projected shortage—for example, one of the surveys conducted by Reputation Leaders in early 2022 found that around 55% of nursing professionals are considering changing career plans. Burnout, coupled with (and perhaps caused by) working in high-stress environments, were common reasons cited for quitting.
In response, many nursing programs now offer classes and new training programs online, providing greater flexibility and, in some cases, an accelerated path to obtaining a professional nursing license. Others rolled out new admission policies allowing students to begin their nursing program in the spring, summer, or fall. In many cases, legislation backs these changes to nursing programs, which increases funding and provides incentives for nurses who want to teach the next generation.
Freedom and Flexibility Aren’t Going Anywhere
The past couple years have highlighted how much nursing professionals need flexibility in their schedules. Between the stresses of inflation, concerns about understaffing, and the ongoing global pandemic, there is a lot weighing on nurses. Nearly a third of nurses surveyed in a recent study from DailyPay stated that a flexible work environment would be important for alleviating stress in their personal lives. Approximately 58% of nursing professionals said they would even take a reduction in their paycheck to have more flexible working hours.
Nurses will continue the trend of turning to per diem and float pool work in order to regain control of their schedule. Doing so gives them the chance to spend more time with family, go back to school, or simply take the time off that they need to recharge and recommit to nursing.
Focus on Mental Health
It’s no secret the pandemic dramatically impacted mental health for almost all types of healthcare workers. A different 2022 survey conducted by Reputation Leaders shows the impact of the pandemic and the lack of support that nursing professionals feel. According to the survey:
- 32% of nursing professionals cite patient deaths as the job’s biggest stressor
- 58% are not regularly offered grief counseling
- 37% of nurses do not feel supported in their mental health at work
- 37% feel they are unable to take a vacation
These are not statistics that can be ignored; that’s why healthcare systems are shifting focus to improving and maintaining nurses’ positive mental health. From nursing leadership to hospital administration, efforts to improve mental health abound. Many facilities offer flexible scheduling to help nurses decompress, while others provide remote work options to keep full-time staff employed without having to go into work.
Workplace culture around nursing is also changing. Some facilities sponsor mental health programs that include access to counselors and are offered to employees whenever they need it. Programs like this focus on confidentiality and job security, which enables nurses to receive the help they need without worrying about risking their licenses.
Telehealth is Here to Stay
In 2023, nurses of all experience levels should be prepared to take part in telehealth. Telehealth refers to the use of remote technology to provide care to people outside of traditional healthcare facilities. Using any device connected to the Internet, it’s possible to communicate with and transfer information directly to care teams anywhere in the country. Patients and providers have taken advantage of this to maintain relationships and care plans throughout the pandemic, and there’s no sign of that stopping.
Telehealth makes it easier for many people to receive the care they need, even if they live far from healthcare facilities. As such, nurses must be prepared to interpret data to assess patient needs, evaluate patients’ response to treatment, and provide education about diagnoses and treatment plans. This requires a good understanding of remote technologies, as well as the ability to provide care in virtual environments.
The most important takeaway from the trends in nursing for 2023, is that there isn’t anything new and revelatory coming, but a continuation and deepening of existing trends. Nursing professionals want to feel valued, cared for, and balanced.