Nursing education is seeing some pretty dramatic changes recently due to the Affordable Care Act. What are these changes, and how do they impact nursing education? Let’s take a look at how nurses are trained and some new changes on the horizon.
Nursing Education Defined
A nurse is a person trained to work with and care for the sick. We find nurses in many settings, like hospitals, doctor offices, elder-care facilities and in-home care.
Because of the diversity of settings, nurses wear a lot of hats. Their jobs range from providing comfort and care to more specific tasks, such as drawing blood or administering shots.Think of the nurses you know or have interacted with in the past. Have you ever wondered what they had to do to become a nurse? No matter what type of nurse you run into, all have to be specially trained.
Nursing education refers to the specific training a nurse receives to be qualified to work with patients.New changes in our approach to health-care trickle over into how nurses are educated. Because nursing is a public service, their training and education reflect trends in health policy and practices. Let’s take a look some current trends that Jack, a nursing student, is being trained on as he prepares to become a nurse.
Focus On the Patient
Taking care of our own health isn’t really a new concept. We all know we need to brush our teeth and eat healthy food. But new trends in educating patients about complex health situations are on the rise as the cost of care increases.
Patients are better able to recover from illnesses and stay healthy if they understand what they need to do.Jack is now being trained to focus on patients and educate them on specific health issues. He will learn how to talk to patients, document his conversations, and follow up with them to make sure they are doing what is asked.
Advances in the role technology plays in healthcare is at an all-time high.
New devices used in offices and labs requires nurses, like Jack, to be fluent in technology. He’ll be trained on how to use new technology and spend time with devices specific to his field. Patient files are now being stored electronically, so Jack will be trained in accessing and using these files. In fact, Jack may be trained in wearable technology, as we see below, a hands-free device that delivers patient data.
Care For the Aging
As more and more people are living longer lives, the need for care for the aging is increasing. The increase in longer lives means chronic illnesses, like diabetes and other systems failures, are also on the rise. Jack can be specially trained to work with elderly patients in hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care units or in-home care. Jack will have a wide range of options to choose from if he decides to go into elder-care.
As patients become more self-educated about health, there is an increased demand for non-traditional care options. Jack can be trained to use alternative or holistic medical practices with patients.
These treatments shift the focus from the disease to the whole patient, and nurses, like Jack, will receive specialized training to learn about alternative and holistic medical treatment, such as meditation, massage and chiropractic care.
Nursing education is necessary to prepare nurses to take care of patients. Because of changing health needs, nurses are being educated in new and exciting ways. They need more training in educating patients about health-care, technology and care for the aging. Finally, nurses are being educated in non-traditional care, such as holistic and alternative medicine, as our focus shifts away from treating a disease and towards treating a person. Jack has many decisions to make about what type of nursing he’d like to work in, and keeping up with the trends will help prepare him for the workforce.