What are Trends?
Trends are something that moves in a direction over time that shows significant change (Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, 2009)

Trends in Nursing
Past Nurse

Past nursing:
In the early 20th century, nurses provided care at homes or through public health work (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). During this time nurses were also midwives (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). As nurses became required in institutional settings, the nursing career expanded. Nursing split into four sections- clinical, education, research and administration (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006) and the rate of pay increased with demand of nurses. Some past medical issues were World War I and II, in which nurses were there to care for wounded soldiers who had been shot, burned or lost limbs, and diseases such as, tuberculosis, dysentery and diphtheria (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006).The first School of Nursing was developed in 1919, but most training took place in hospitals until the 1970’s (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). The schooling was mostly theoretical and the hands-on training would take place at the hospitals (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). In the past nurses were not separated by diplomas or degrees, all nurses had the same responsibilities. As time went by diploma and degree programs developed, along with new technology. In the past there was no or very limited technology available for use; everything was done by hand. This has greatly changed over the years and will continue to change into the future.

nurse.jpgPresent nursing:

Most Canadians live longer, healthier lives then they use to 50 or even 25 years ago. However, Canadians are still continuing to die in large numbers from cancers and diseases of the heart (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). In the 21st century the Canadian health care is characterized as an explosion of technology and a push for bigger, stronger, faster and cheaper health care. There has been a dramatic improvement in technology, surgical techniques and anesthesia which means shorter hospital stays (CNA, 2006). In the 21st century we are also confronted with a real shortage of nurses, in some areas more than others. This is due to the fact that the baby-boomers have started to reach retirement age. The nursing profession has lost 13 percent of the RN workforce (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). The number of students applying for a BScN program is on the rise but 18, 000 nursing graduates are still needed annually to catch up with our nursing shortage (CNA, 2006). The new generation of nurses in the health care profession wish to work in teams where responsibility and accountability are shared (CNA, 2006). To gain a RN degree title one must complete a four year bachelors of science in nursing (CNA, 2006).

Future nursing:

The nursing profession will inevitably expand to meet the medical needs of Canadians in the future. A futures study has been made by the Canadian Nurses Association’s (CNA) Public Policy department to suggest ideal nursing outcomes for the year 2020, in order to properly provide quality medical care to Canadians in the years to come. The CNA Public Policy department predicts that in order to maintain successful health services to Canadians in the year 2020, licensed nurse practitioners “will have increased responsibility in long-term and transitional health care” (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006, p.2) and that health care professionals will no longer perform tasks that patients or personal support workers can safely perform themselves (p.2). The CNA Public Policy department also predicts that “undergraduate, graduate and continuing education curricula will be adapted to reflect the diversity of Canada” (p.2) and that 20 percent of Canada’s nursing population will be visible minorities, and 10 percent of the nursing profession will be male (p.2). These predictions serve as guidelines so that nursing personnel and associations can take deliberate measures to ensure proper enhancement of the nursing profession in order to meet future nursing expectations.

In the future, there will be new technology that will shape the nursing career. There will be more computer assistive diagnosis techniques, and more genetic testing to eliminate disease (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). There will be new technology that limits invasive procedures and
contributes to shorter stays in hospitals (Villeneuve & Macdonald, 2006). Technological advances will impact the nursing career because nurses will be required to use various new technologies to care for patients. Since there will be more computers and robotics to perform psychomotor tasks and monitoring, nursing will revolve more around skills in assessment, evaluation, teaching, and planning care for clients (Barker, 1992). Telemedicine, telenursing, and telehealth, and community care nursing will be the predominate nursing care of the future. Along with technological advancements, nursing education will also advance and change. The demand for nurses in acute care settings will decrease, but the roles of nurses in community care settings such as educators will increase (Lowenstein, 2003). Since the nursing career is becoming increasingly complex due to new technology and the emergence of new diseases, lifelong learning will be the focus for future nurses (Heller, Oros & Durney-Crowley).

For a great source of information please visit:
Toward 2020: Visions for Nursing

Barker, A. M. (1992). Transformational nursing leadership: a vision for the future. New York: National League for Nursing Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.ca/books?id=SsU1eGCygaEC&pg=PA19&dq=the+future+of+nursing&as_brr=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Villeneuve, M., & Macdonald, J., (2006). Towards 2020: Visions for nursing. Canadian Nurses Association. Retrieved from http://www.cna-nurses.ca/CNA/documents/pdf/publications/Toward-2020-e.pdf
Lowenstein, A. J. (2003). Visions for the future of nursing. ICUS and Nursing Web Journal. (16). (p. 1-2). Retrieved from http://www.nursing.gr/editorialLowenstein.pdf
Heller, B. R., Oros, M. T., & Durney-Crowley, J. (2007). The future of nursing education: ten trends to watch. Retrieved from http://www.nln.org/nlnjournal/infotrends.htm#9#9
Trend. (2009).In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved December 3, 2009 from http://m-w.com/dictionary/trend
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