Five Healthcare Trends Affecting Nursing Jobs in 2020

Healthcare trends

By Lee Soren, contributor

Because of steady advancements in medical technology and an evolving political, social and economic culture, the landscape of care in the United States is constantly changing. The resulting trends in healthcare can significantly impact nurses, opening new career opportunities and minimizing others, and potentially change their overall approach to patient care. 

5 Healthcare Trends Affecting Nursing Jobs in 2020

1. Increased telehealth services

An increase in the demand for medical care caused by an aging U.S. population combined with attempts by insurance companies to control healthcare costs should mean a surge in telehealth services in 2020. Sometimes referred to as telemedicine, these services use remote, technology-enabled visits between clinicians and patients to diagnose minor illnesses, provide medical advice and monitor ongoing health conditions.

"Many organizations have been offering medical advice over the phone for years," explains Veronica Castellana, a nurse educator who specializes in helping nurses explore career options other than bedside nursing. She notes, "With the recent increase in reliability of video conferencing platforms, organizations may try to expand on the concept of remote healthcare through the internet."

The surge in telehealth means opportunities for nurses to explore a new specialty: virtual nursing. Virtual nurses provide many of the same services as traditional nurses: answering questions, delivering discharge instructions, educating patients and discussing results of diagnostic testing. Telehealth also enhances continuity of care, conveniently letting nurses visit patients remotely for aftercare and potentially increasing patient follow-through.

Telehealth is also finding a place in hospitals and acute care facilities, where virtual nurses monitor patient safety and receive requests through interactive bedside devices. Castella says, "This trend will hopefully have a positive effect throughout healthcare by preventing patients from visiting hospitals and facilities for minor conditions and decreasing the patient loads for those overwhelmed facilities."

2. Care related to online social movements

As social campaigns such as the #MeToo movement continue to dominate social media, conversations are opening up about sensitive issues such as sexual violence. In the wake of these movements, 2020 will likely see an increasing need for forensic nurses to care for the survivors who are coming forward to tell their stories.

The Duquesne University School of Nursing foresees a particular need for sexual assault forensic examiners. Employed by hospitals, community clinics and victim outreach centers, these specially trained nurses provide vital services, including forensic examinations, to patients who've been victims of violent crimes. They may also help victims navigate the healthcare and legal system in the wake of the crime.

3. Patients as partners in healthcare

Because of the wide range of diagnostic and treatment information available on the internet today, patients are increasingly taking an active role in their own medical care. From self-diagnoses to formulating potential treatment plans to pose to their physicians, patients are now looking to be partners in care.

For patients, this can mean better adherence to care plans and improved satisfaction in their overall care. For nurses, it may mean a change in the way they engage with patients. Nurses may find themselves serving as a sounding board for ideas and monitoring patient-directed treatments.

4. Nurses as entrepreneurs

Tori Hamilton, a registered nurse and the founder of Mothericity, believes that 2020 and beyond will show more nurses taking on entrepreneurial roles by starting small businesses designed to fill niches that the healthcare industry has otherwise missed. Hamilton, who founded Mothericity after discovering the lack of health services for mothers in rural areas, explains, "Nurses are at the center of patient care and are in the perfect position to recognize gaps in our healthcare system and to lead interdisciplinary teams."

This might mean a change in career trajectory for new and experienced nurses as they begin to see the merit of striking out on their own or even taking on leadership roles in their organizations. Hamilton notes that this is particularly true for millennial nurses, explaining, "Millennial nurses are looking for the challenge and flexibility that creating a new business provides."

5. The need for travel nurses

As demand for medical care rises and the nursing shortage continues to impact hospitals and other facilities, the need for travel nurses in all specialties will continue to increase throughout the country. These travel nurse jobs offer a variety of benefits, including higher salaries, housing stipends, travel expense reimbursement and opportunities to experience new places and people.

Related:Demand for OR Nurses Driving Strong Job Market

Start the search for your next travel nurse assignment at's comprehensive job bank.


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