The demand for advanced nursing practice has been on the rise during the last few years. With an aging population and the increase in the number of individuals suffering from critical illnesses, nurses are upskilling faster than ever to meet the growing demand for healthcare services. In addition, healthcare itself – and not just the practice of it – is evolving rapidly. This is driving the demand for better-skilled nurses with advanced degrees.
However, this is not without its challenges. As the health industry evolves, so do the roles of professionals within the system. These challenges include the nursing shortage (both in nursing students and teachers), the aging of the nursing workforce, a lag in nursing salaries, increased demand for nursing based on aging baby boomers, increases in patient-centered care and technology, and new arenas for practice.
Here is a look at some of the trends and challenges in advanced nursing practice and ways to tackle them.
Emerging trends in advanced nursing practice
In recent years, emerging trends in ANP have further transformed the nursing profession. These trends reflect the changing healthcare landscape and evolving patient needs, along with advancements in technology, research and healthcare policy. Here is a closer look at some of these trends.
Increase in patient-centered care
Patients today want to be more involved in their care. The focus is now on tailoring healthcare delivery to fit the individual needs and preferences of patients and provide the best possible outcome for each patient. Patients want to fully understand their health conditions and their treatment options and actively participate in their own treatment. This marks a shift from the traditional practice of the all-knowing healthcare professional who is out of sync with the patient’s needs.
Health technology and telemedicine
One of the biggest trends in healthcare is the increased adoption of technology in diagnosis, treatment and general health administration. Artificial intelligence is making inroads into health practice to make the work of advanced nurses easier. However, advanced nurses must learn to use these new tools as they are introduced. They must be adept at using technology for collaborative work in clinical settings, managing electronic healthcare records, managing chronic conditions, and providing diagnosis and care.
Healthcare physicians and other specialists are now more receptive to the contributions of other healthcare practitioners, such as advanced nurses. Advanced practice nurses need to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to provide the best outcomes for their patients.
Health policy advocacy
Patient advocacy is one factor that has contributed to the increased quality of healthcare services. Advanced practice nurses play an important role in ensuring the success of patient advocacy efforts. These efforts include promoting healthcare policies that will improve the overall quality of care, participating in community forums, and engaging in grassroots advocacy efforts.
There has been a significant increase in life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy globally has increased by more than six years between 2000 and 2019 – from 66.8 years in 2000 to 73.4 years in 2019. Advanced nursing practice is seeing a growing demand for palliative and geriatric care to manage chronic conditions and manage end-of-life health conditions.
Providing culturally competent care is critical to improving health outcomes for diverse patient populations. Advanced practice nurses need to be aware of the many cultural norms, beliefs and practices that may impact patient care.
Challenges in advanced nursing practice
Advanced nursing practice is a challenging and dynamic field that requires healthcare providers to possess a high level of clinical expertise, critical thinking and leadership skills. Here is a look at some of the challenges faced by advanced practice nurses.
Scope of practice
One of the biggest challenges in advanced nursing practice is defining the scope of practice. This varies from state to state, and it can be difficult to navigate the regulations and laws that govern practice. In some clinical settings, advanced nursing practitioners have more control over patient care than others. These are things that nurses must pay attention to at the interview stage of seeking employment.
Shortage of advanced nurses
Advanced practice nurses are often tasked with managing complex patients with multiple chronic conditions. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them to go around, which can lead to undue stress and pressure. If you have been wondering, “should I get a DNP?”, this might be the push you need – with Baylor University offering an online course to help ease the burden on travelling and living costs. Advanced nurses have better opportunities for growth and a more favorable career outlook thanks to their training and skills, and they can leverage this for better compensation and benefits.
Keeping up with rapidly evolving technology
As technology evolves, advanced practice nurses must stay up to date with the latest innovations and integrate them into their practice. This includes everything from electronic medical records to telehealth and remote monitoring. Seasoned advanced nurses might find this challenging considering that many of them were trained before the proliferation of these technologies.
Navigating the healthcare system
Advanced practice nurses must be able to navigate the complex healthcare system and advocate for their patients. They must also be able to work effectively with other healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive the best care. Collaborative care is an important principle in healthcare these days, along with insurance and patient advocacy, all of which advanced nurses must learn to navigate.
Balancing clinical and administrative responsibilities
Advanced practice nurses often have both clinical and administrative responsibilities, which can be challenging to balance. They must be able to prioritize their workload and delegate tasks effectively to other members of the healthcare team. In addition, advanced practice nurses are responsible for ensuring patient safety and providing high-quality care. This requires a high level of attention to detail, critical thinking and effective communication skills.
In conclusion, advanced nursing practice is evolving rapidly, and nurses are left to navigate several emerging trends and challenges. To overcome these challenges, advanced practice nurses need to prioritize ongoing education and training, develop strong communication skills, and advocate for policies that promote access to quality care.
Additionally, advanced practice nurses must work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, prioritize patient-centered care, and stay on top of the latest trends and developments in healthcare. By addressing these challenges and embracing emerging trends, advanced practice nurses can continue to provide high-quality care to their patients and play an important role in improving health outcomes for individuals and communities.