How the practice of nursing and patient care delivery is Evolving in the U.S.

The healthcare reform in the U.S., the aging population, and increasing quality of healthcare will continue to play a significant role in shaping the direction of nursing practice. For example, the aging of the population implies that more people will increasingly need care services, and thus enhancing the demand for nursing services. Further, with the push to minimize the cost of healthcare, and thus reduce the length of stay in hospitals, nurses are increasingly likely to play greater roles in community settings rather than in hospitals. Nursing jobs within the acute care and inpatient settings are thus likely to stagnate, whereas jobs in community settings and nursing homes are likely to increase. Added to these shifts, will be an increasing need for nurses to have cross-cultural competence as they are likely to find themselves involved with patients who espouse diverse beliefs, values, and norms based on their cultural backgrounds. Moreover, nursing practice will also likely be shaped by the change to electronic records from paper documentation, which will not only affect how nurses use patients’ information but will also pose increasing challenges related to privacy and confidentiality of patient information. The influence of these aspects on the future of nursing practice are considered subsequently in this paper.

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