What’s in store for nurses in 2018?

The start of 2018 also means a new year for nurses! If you’re a nurse, you may be wondering what’s in store for you in the coming year—both individually and for the field of nursing in general.
Written by Eric Titner

The start of 2018 also means a new year for nurses! If you’re a nurse, you may be wondering what’s in store for you in the coming year—both individually and for the field of nursing in general.

Although nursing is a very broad field—nurses are employed in a wide variety of settings (including doctors’ offices, hospitals, schools, outpatient clinics, nursing care facilities, military bases, and home healthcare services), and their responsibilities can vary widely (based on their education, experience level, and licensure)—there are some general workplace and industry trends that we can look at to determine what kind of year nurses can expect in 2018.

Industry forecast

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook developed by the United States Department of Labor, the broad job outlook for nurses looking ahead is a good one—employment for nurses is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade. A variety of factors are involved in this projected growth, including a growing senior citizen demographic (who will increasingly rely on healthcare services in their older years), an increased public emphasis on preventive care, and a growing rate of chronic conditions (including obesity and diabetes) that will lead to a wide array of healthcare needs. That said, if you’re a nurse—or thinking of becoming a nurse—and are wondering if it’s an industry with an abundance of opportunities or is experiencing over-saturation, rest assured you should not have trouble finding employment if you possess the requisite training, education, experience, and skill set.

If you’re wondering which industries will have the highest levels of employment for nurses over the coming years, you can count on medical and surgical hospitals, doctors’ offices, home healthcare service agencies, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and centers being at the top of the list. An increasing number of nurses are being employed outside of hospitals, a trend that is expected to continue in 2018. Home-based healthcare is a growing business, and expect to see greater job opportunities for nurses who are willing to travel regularly.

Are you curious about the regions and states that will likely have the highest levels of employment opportunities? Expect the highest concentration and need for nurses in the easternmost and westernmost portions of the country, with varying levels of employment in the central states of America. States that you can count on for typically having the highest levels of employment for nurses include California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Are you hunting for a bigger paycheck this year? Top paying states, on average, include California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Oregon, and Alaska.

Industry trends

If you’re curious about the big industry trends that are likely to affect the field of nursing in 2018, TravelNurse Source and Licensed Practical Nurse recently published articles that included their top predictions for the coming year. Expect the following key predictions to have an impact on the field of nursing.

Nursing shortage

As hinted at earlier, there is expected to be a shortage of nurses across all disciplines in 2018. The need for experienced and qualified nurses will only continue to grow as the population in general gets older and the levels of chronic illness grows. Furthermore, the average age of nurses is currently over 50, so the number of professionals retiring—and the need for new nurses—will continue to grow over the year and into the future.

What does this shortage mean for you as a nurse? Plenty! If you’re a qualified professional this puts you in the “driver’s seat”—allowing you greater leverage and options for choosing a position and having a prospective employer meet your demands for employment.

Rise in technology

We’re all aware of how recent advances in modern technology have changed nearly every aspect of society, and this includes the field of nursing. Technology will play an increasing role in how nurses perform their daily responsibilities, so expect new tools, simulators, high-tech devices, and other pieces of healthcare technology to be used on the job. Even basic record keeping has gone digital and mobile—today, healthcare professionals can access patient records at the point of contact, instead of having to go back and forth to a dedicated nursing station.

Telemedicine has been a big industry buzzword in recent years, and expect it to continue and grow in 2018. Advances in technology have made remote healthcare (often taking advantage of video technology) accessible and affordable, and  it is an increasingly growing field in nursing. Those who get comfortable and experienced in telemedicine will be able to leverage the additional employment opportunities and flexibility it can provide.

What does this mean if you’re a nurse or are thinking of becoming one? The bottom line is that the need for tech-savvy nurses will be a big trend in 2018 and beyond, and those industry professionals who possess the skills and mindset to learn how to master new equipment and technology will be especially valuable in the industry.

More male nurses

The last several years has seen a sharp increase in the number of men entering the nursing profession, and 2018 will be no exception—expect to see increasing numbers of male nurses across all disciplines. If you’re a male and are thinking of pursuing a career as a nurse, there’s no better time than the present to do so.

The future of healthcare landscape

Potential changes to state and national healthcare laws, and what will happen to healthcare in general if the Affordable Healthcare Act gets repealed (and what system would potentially replace it) could have a big potential impact on the field of nursing in 2018. We are currently in “wait and see” mode regarding this issue, and only time will tell how this fully plays out and how it will effect healthcare professionals in 2018 and beyond.

There you have it—some of the key predictions and trends for nursing for 2018. If you’re a nurse or are thinking of becoming one, use the information provided here to set yourself up for career success in 2018 and beyond.

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About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.

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