Trends Affecting The Nurse As Educator
Healthcare provision has been one of the most fundamental goals of any country. It is well recognized that health has a direct link or connection to the capacity or ability of people to create wealth, in which case it influences economic growth. This aspect offers an explanation on why countries place tremendous sums of money in financing healthcare. At the heart of the healthcare sector are nurses who are involved in every step of the care of the patient, and charged with the responsibility of following up on patients, designing varied care plans, as well as facilitating transitions between clinical settings (Erickson & Ditomasi, 2005). The performance of their duties is understood to result in healthcare that optimizes on quality and minimizes cost.
Needless to say, the healthcare sector has undergone tremendous changes, which have underlined the importance of preparing clients to be more responsible for the management of self-care. The trends have mainly focused on outcomes that exhibit the degree to which nurses have up-to-date skills, as well as knowledge necessary for confident and competent provision of care to patients in varied settings. It has also focused on outcomes showing the degree to which patients have incorporated crucial skills and knowledge to allow for independent care. These changes and improvements have been necessitated by the need to improve healthcare provision so as to make it efficient, patient-centered, equitable, timely, effective, and safe to the patient (National Academy of Science, 2001). The function and scope of nursing is a reflection of the need for right skills and knowledge for the fulfillment of the supportive healthcare role. Various social, political and economic trends have been affected the nurse as educator. It is well acknowledged that, the key to success in nursing is founded on nurses’ capacity to educate each other so as to keep abreast with the varied dynamics and demands in their profession (Chase & Pruit, 2006). The nurse educators’ response to these trends, be they social, political, or economic, have mainly been aimed at enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, quality, as well as service provision in the healthcare sector.
One of the trends that have affected nurses as educators revolves around the changing demographics, especially with regards to the aging of the American population. Scholars note that the United States has undergone a tremendous shift as far as its population is concerned. Advances in clinical and public healthcare have resulted in a rapid increase, in the average lifespan. It is estimated that over 20% of the United States population is going to be aged 65 or more, with individuals beyond 85 making up the fastest growing age-group (Chase & Pruit, 2006). It is worth noting that considerable increases in the population’s diversity has an impact on the prevalence, as well as the nature of ailments, which necessitates the modification in practice so as to respect and reflect the diverse beliefs and values. As Heller et al (2011) note, disparities in access to care, mortality and morbidity have heightened among population sectors. In essence, it has become imperative that the practice, research and education in nursing responds and embraces the varying demographics. As Bastable (2008) notes, the changing demographics heighten the healthcare needs of baby-boomers, especially pertaining to degenerative illnesses, as well as other aspects pertaining to aging.
In addition, recent times have seen a tremendous growth in and incorporation of information technology in the healthcare sector. According to Bastable (2008), advanced technology has heightened the complexity of healthcare in the home, as well as community-based settings. Patients are becoming increasingly self-reliant, thanks to increased speed in hospital discharge and procedures carried out on an outpatient basis. Heller et al (2011) notes that advanced technology has brought together patients and healthcare providers without any physical proximity, improved clinical diagnosis, as well as enhanced both care and outcomes management. It is worth noting that electronic commerce become habitual in transacting healthcare products and services. This means that 21st century nurse educators have to have some knowledge about information technology, which will allow them to stimulate skill acquisition and critical thinking in their audiences (Erickson & Ditomasi, 2005). It is worth noting that increased flexibility and speed of accessing data, coupled with new communication and observation methods, have altered the manner in which nursing research is carried out.
Moreover, the political trends pertaining to health policies and regulations have affected the nurse as educator. The complexity of healthcare issues can never be undermined, especially as pertaining to the field of economics and medicine, and touching on the rights of individuals and access to healthcare. Increasing costs and managed care trigger an increase in federal and state regulation, which in turn triggers efforts to shift to less-costly settings, as well as the applications of market forces in an effort to retain costs (Heller et al, 2011). In addition, states have an increased oversight role thanks to the shift to managed care, as well as shared responsibility for Medicaid. States have to measure, define, evaluate, as well as act as contractors for corporations in enhancing accountability, in managed care organizations. The regulations and devolution have considerable impacts on nursing and the provision of healthcare. As Bastable (2008) notes, nurses have a crucial role to play in the achievement or attainment of national priorities especially pertaining to healthy lifestyles, in which case they have to modify their education to suit national priorities.
On the same note, consumers have been increasingly knowledgeable about self-care and disease prevention. There is increased awareness among consumers about their needs, which, coupled with the increased desire for more comprehension about treatment goals, has triggered an increase in the demand for information pertaining to health (Bastable, 2008). According to Heller (2011), advances in quality assessment and information technology have enhanced the active role of consumers as far as healthcare management and decision-making is concerned. Consumers have become increasingly interested in alternative healthcare options. There is increased demand for considerably complex health education methods, as well as more participation of patients in healthcare decisions, thanks to the heightened consumer power in the relationship between patient and healthcare providers. This is cemented by the realization of the need to customize care in line with the needs and values of patients, as well as the fact that all control emanates from the patient especially pertaining to healthcare decisions affecting them (National Academy of Science, 2001). In essence, nurse educators have had to modify their teaching methods in line with the increased activeness of consumers in healthcare decisions.
Obviously, nurse educators have been immensely affected by these trends. Numerous other changes have been observed touching on the social, economic and political aspects. The foundation of these trends influence is built on the necessity or need to be responsive to the market dynamics and enhance responsiveness, quality, efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare sector.
Bastable, S. B. (2008). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett.
Chase, S.K., & Pruit, R.H (2006). The Practice Doctorate: Innovation or Disruption? Journal of Nursing Education, 45 (5)
Heller, B.R., Oros, M.T & Durney-Crowley, J, (2011). The Future of Nursing Education: Ten Trends to Watch. National League for Nursing
Erickson, J.I & Ditomassi, M. (2005). The Clinical Nurse Leader: New in Name Only. Journal of Nursing Education, 44 (3)