Nursing in 2020 and Beyond: How a Pandemic is Shaping a Career Path

By Michelle Oddi, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, CCRN, CFRN, C-NPT - October 14th, 2020

As a global pandemic continues to change the way we live our lives, those who care for us—nurses, in particular—continue to work day and night to combat a once-in-a-generation public health crisis. 

Scrub In or Log On?

Pandemic aside, nursing in the 21st century looks quite different from the days when Florence Nightingale—the founder of modern nursing—was caring for wounded soldiers. Today, technology plays a large part in both the growth of the healthcare field, as well as the day-to-day duties of a nurse. 

While technologies like telehealth are not new (it’s been used for years, particularly for those in rural or outlying areas where access is an issue) its use has surged from demand generated by COVID-19. This important tool allows care delivery to continue while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. 

As medicine and technology advance, and evidence-based practices evolve, it is imperative that nurses embrace change and promote continued education in the field. 

Step Back and Climb Up

Despite the rapid expansion of healthcare as an industry, there continues to be a shortage of nurses. If this shortage persists, it could have a crippling effect on the industry and patient care. 

The blame for this shortage has often been placed on burnout. While nurses are known for their relentless drive to care for everyone except themselves, this commendable dedication can lead to emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. Healthcare institutions and nursing associations are addressing this challenge head-on, encouraging nurses to take the time for self-care and providing access to mental health and wellness resources.

Did You Know? In 2020, for the 18th year in a row, Americans rated nurses as the most honest and ethical professionals.

Nurses who are ready to step away from long bedside care hours, stressful environments, and inadequate staffing do have a way to put their expertise to use and lead healthcare at a higher, more strategic level. Continued education, such as a Master’s in Nursing, can lead to higher-level positions, increased salary, and overall improved career satisfaction. 

Regardless of the role they play, nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, and we must continue to find ways to support their personal wellness and professional goals.

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