By: Jean Henshaw
Another major trend is the use of the electronic medical record, which replace the traditional paper documentation. Consumers will be much more knowledgeable as well because of access to the internet. And more medical goods and services will be delivered electronically.
Nurses in the 21st century will need to be knowledgeable in the uses of computer technology. Nursing education may involve more distance learning, and make it easier for nurses to continue their professional education. Computer technology will allow nursing students to simulate clinical conditions electronically to help them learn.
Because of globalization, nursing education will have to address the issue of the spread of disease across national boundaries, and deal with emerging disease threats around the world.
Nursing education also will have address the changing economic situation in healthcare. Nurses will need to have an understanding of how to care for patients in ways that improve quality, deal with the complexity of care, and do so in a cost effective way.
Nursing education will more and more have to deal with the impacts of health policy and regulation. As costs go up, state and federal regulations will become more of a factor in healthcare. Along with the regulation, there also will be trends toward moving to less expensive ways to deliver healthcare and to apply market forces to keep down costs.
There is also a trend in nursing education to incorporate more nursing science and research, which are playing much greater roles in nursing practice. Nursing research is providing a scientific model for healthcare. This research deals with how patient behavior affects health, how to manage symptoms of illness, helping patients and their families cope with illness and its treatment.
One trend in nursing education is related to the makeup to the student body itself, which is likely to become older. And schools of nursing have to be ready to deal with the challenges of educating an older student.
Another trend affecting nursing education is the increasing complexity of patient care. Patients in hospitals now are more acutely ill — there are almost as many beds in critical care and other specialty areas now as there are general use beds. Because life expectancy is now longer, there is an increase in the number, severity and length of chronic conditions, which adds to the complexity of the care needed.