The role nurses used to play in the past has changed over time. Many nurses today are taking on more challenging roles than what they had been used to in the past. Some of the roles that are been taken by them were once reserved for physicians. Today’s nurses are beginning to become more specialized compared to the past. The field of nursing has generally grown to introduce more areas than what used to be a few years ago. These days, specialties like medical-surgery nurses, labor, delivery, psychiatric, pediatric have been introduced by most institutions teaching nursing to ensure they are fully equipped with the right skills after leaving nursing school.

In the past, nurses were only subjected to care for their patients. The role today has shifted in recent years as they have more responsibilities and most respected in being part of the medical team. Their activities include assessing a patient’s condition and to make informed decisions on the results received.

Today’s nurses study various types of nursing fields that they wish to pursue. They include: –

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Associate’s Degree Registered Nurse (ADRN or ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science Degree Registered Nurse (BSRN or BSN)
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN)
  • Nurse Practitioners (NP)
  • Nurse Midwives (CNM)

Having expanded their skills, most of them have been seen to run their own clinics where they now diagnose and prescribe drugs to patients while others are in high-level management roles training other student nurses and junior doctors in medical schools.

These types of responsibilities could not have been imagined by most people as for the nurses to carry them and make every contribution to the National Health Service.

Toni Schwarz, head of the department for nursing and midwifery at Sheffield Hallam University, one of the largest nurse-training universities in England says that nurses were originally handmaidens to the medics. Nurses today can go and study further and not just stayat the patient’s bedside as it was earlier.

Clare Manley, a nurse student who gave up her job as a high school business manager that paid her an annual salary of £49,000 also confirms this. Now aged forty-two, she originally began nurse training twenty years ago but was forced to give it up after she was diagnosed with epilepsy. She is now in her second year at the Sheffield Hallam where she plans to become a nurse consultant in mental health. Clare echoes that there are four parts to the jobwhere she wants to pursue i.e., practice and research, training and education, and some policy developments.

Prof Lisa Bayliss-Pratt director of nursing at Health Education England, the government agency responsible for the National Health Service workforce education and training also sees that today’s nursing students are ambitious.

Over the past 70 years, medicine and science have advanced and the burden of the disease has changed influencing nurse development. In 1948, their proprieties would have been to improve the sanitation and people’s diet as well as infection control.

Prof Donna Kinnair, director of nursing, policy,and practice at the royal college of Nursing says that it was the doctors who used to give antibiotics and measured blood pressure. She says that there would hardly bee any difference between the doctors of that day and the nurses of our time.

The older growing population of people living with more complex and multiple needs with long-term conditions such as diabetes are said to be the biggest influencers of the future direction of nursing.

There are new nursing roles such as a Nurse Associate being developed to take up tasks that were traditionally performed by registered nurses who are now doing more complex work.

It is believed that the nursing community workforce is expected to grow as there will be more integrated healthcare system between the hospitals and the community which will have a more advanced, clinical skills in the next 10 to 15 years.

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