Four nursing trends we’re watching for 2022
Nurses are an essential part of the healthcare industry – a fact not lost on doctors, surgeons or even everyday Americans who continually rank nurses number one in Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics poll. And although experts continue to predict a nursing shortage in the years to come, we also see an increase in enrollment for all nursing programs. Given that we need nurses to properly run hospitals and medical practices, knowing the latest industry trends impacting medical facilities is key to ensuring you maintain a happy, steady staff.
Here, we take a look at four of the bigger nursing trends we’re watching as we head into 2022.
1. Job growth will continue
As nurses continue to leave the workforce due to retirement, burnout or other factors, the demand for nurses will continue to rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be approximately 194,500 openings for registered nurses every year through 2030. With a projected growth of nine percent and a median salary of $75,000, nurses will continue to be in demand throughout the remainder of the decade.
According to Physician’s Weekly, the two categories of nursing that will see the most considerable growth in 2022 are travel nurses (35%) and per diem nurses (8%).
2. Hospitals will struggle to retain staff
As the demand for travel nurses continues to grow, hospitals, especially those in rural areas, will continue to struggle to hire and retain nursing staff. Higher pay and shorter hours make travel nursing more appealing for many nurses, with some making close to triple their previous salary while on staff. And with 30 percent more travel nursing jobs available than a year ago, hospitals will continue to lose seasoned nurses and be forced to pay more for the traveling ones.
3. More states will pass legislation restricting patient-to-nurse ratios
As the American population continues to age, the demand for healthcare services and professionals will continue to increase. Yet, due to a lack of educators, high turnover in the profession and inequitable workforce distribution, we continue to face a shortage. This shortage leads to higher patient-to-nurse ratios, causing an increase in errors, decrease in failure-to-rescue rates and patient fatalities. As a result, a handful of states have passed legislation that limits patient-to-nurse ratios, and a federal law has been proposed.
4. Mental health will become an even bigger priority
At the end of Q1 in 2021, Nursing Times released some not-so-shocking survey results that stated almost two-thirds of nurses believed their mental health had deteriorated since the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. These nurses also felt the support they’ve received isn’t adequate. To address this, along with other concerns, the American Nurse Association sent a letter to Secretary Xavier Becerra at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 1, 2021. This letter urged the administration to declare a “national nurse staffing crisis and take immediate steps to develop and implement both short- and long-term solutions.” The letter also pressed the secretary to prioritize the mental health of nurses and help reduce the stigma surrounding people who seek treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.
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