NURSES TRANSFORMING FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE
NURSES are an unstoppable and an incredible workforce in the health-care environment. According to the database of the SA Nursing Council, there are about 400 000 nurses in South Africa, making nursing an integral and crucial part of our economy.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US expects nursing job growth of 12% through 2028, much faster then the average occupation.
Nurses are the heroes of our healthcare system, caring for both sick and healthy individuals across the world. The global Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan.
As our country combats the pandemic, it has been proven that nurses play a critical role in keeping the health-care system functioning and well managed.
The questions thus arise: What does the future of nursing look like? What role will nurses play in the future transformation of health-care delivery?
The International Council for Nurses (ICN) annually leads the global celebrations for International Nurses Day, which is observed on May 12. The celebration marks the anniversary of the birth of the nursing trailblazer and pioneer, Florence Nightingale.
The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is “A Vision for Future Health Care”. This implies that nurses should continue to lead in care delivery, and at the same time take responsibility to transform health care and to cast a vision for health care.
Nurse innovation in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic and health crisis will be the focus of the 2021 nurses’ celebrations.
According to the Institute of Medicine Report published in 2010, it was then reported that nurses will lead the future. The report highlighted the need for more nurses to study towards degrees and to pursue speciality nursing degrees, including doctoral degrees.
In South Africa, nurses have the opportunity to further their qualification mix and skill sets by means of enrolling for a new undergraduate Bachelor and Diploma in Nursing.
Nurses who specialise will be leading the future of nursing. Their skills and knowledge will make them one of the most prominent pillars that uphold our health-care system.
The trajectory of the future in health care and nursing points towards increased digitalisation. Innovations such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics are becoming increasingly integrated into all industries, with health care being a leader among them.
As a crucial part of the system, nurses share a lot of contact time with patient, thus bridging the gap between the traditional and new-age divide of technology with skill, understanding and frequent interaction.
Nursing schools globally are embracing technology and digitalisation by means of tele-health, mobile applications with the latest clinical practice guideline at hand on the clinical platform, virtual simulation, second life simulation scenarios, using haptic devices and electronic data capturing and patient interface systems.
Nursing and health informatics’ growing role is changing the way nurses record and communicate patient information, how care is co-ordinated, and the development of evidence-based practices is orchestrated.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the enormous strain experienced by the health system.
However, in response to this pressure, nurses as the largest provider of health care took the responsibility to lead, advise, care and spearhead the revolution of the health-care system.
Nurses are at the heart of patient care; they are a linchpin for health reform and a vital link in transforming delivery of care.
As we celebrate International Nurses Day 2021, let’s recognise nurses as “the voice to lead, who has the ability to vision and transform future health care”.