Shadowing a DoctorAugust 22, 2014
The greying of our society plus the increasing numbers of people suffering from obesity, diabetes and other modern lifestyle diseases has resulted in an overburdened healthcare system that has to deal with a growing number of complex health problems. For medical professionals, this means that old standards and systems are not longer good enough. Nursing in particular has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past few years. In hospitals, care centres and clinics around the world, nurses are rising to meet the challenges of modern healthcare. While caring for the sick still lies at the core of nursing, it has become a more multifaceted role with nurses having more autonomy and taking on a wider range of health care responsibilities than ever before.
Today nurses aren’t just limited to caring for the sick in hospitals and care centres. They are changing the very notion of medicine and health care delivery. Today’s nurses are publishing scientific research, actively addressing health care policies, developing mobile medical applications and even holding seminars and giving TED talks.
The field of nursing is evolving rapidly and so are opportunities to pursue medical specialisations in several areas, from obesity and diabetes to pharmacology and more. However, being a nurse is more than just knowing how to administer medications and perform medical procedures. Becoming a nurse today is about being a more effective member of a dynamic health care team and learning to navigate complex clinical systems.
New health care technology is also playing a key role in creating even more opportunities for nurses. More and more aspects of the profession are electronic today and in addition to learning medicine and anatomy, today’s nurses also have to learn to master an array of new technologies, from mobile devices and electronic medical records to teleconferencing and cloud computing. Even basic medical instruments and technologies are getting smarter.
The growing cost of health care is another factor that has created even more opportunities in nursing. For example, one of the major challenges in today’s healthcare system is trying to determine how to reduce the escalating expenses for chronic disease patients in hospitals. One way that is proving to be very effective is to treat and monitor chronically ill patients at home instead of extended stays in a hospital. Innovative home monitoring programs that allow nurses to see patients on live webcasts will play a considerably larger role in patient care. Because these innovative tools are emerging as the focus of more cost-efficient way to deliver healthcare, nurses who take the trouble to remain up to date and who know how to implement these new technologies are likely to become more sought-after.
In a digitalised world, the way patients approach healthcare has also undergone a huge transformation. More and more patients are making use of online resources to research their symptoms and become more knowledgeable about their condition so that they can make informed decisions about their health. Instead of discouraging this, nurses will need to step in and direct patients to trustworthy authority websites and practical applications.
Nursing has become more complex in ways that nobody could have imagined a generation ago. With the ever changing landscape of modern health care, it is important for nurses to be intellectually curious and lifelong learners in addition to being great caregivers.