The rapidly evolving world of healthcare requires a nursing workforce that is equipped to deal with the demands of today and the unknowns of tomorrow. Meeting this need starts with nursing education, which is currently undergoing significant transformation. From technology integration to a growing emphasis on mental health, this article examines the key trends that are shaping the future of nursing education.
1. Preparing Students for Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) Exam
Preparing students for the Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) exam is a top priority for nursing schools. The NGN is designed better to measure a candidate's clinical judgment and decision-making skills, going beyond the memorization of facts. Educators are adapting their teaching strategies to foster clinical judgment skills and patient-centered care approaches.
UbiSim’s immersive virtual reality simulation platform is one way to prepare nurses for the exam. “Simulation helps nurses prepare for the NCLEX because the practice helps them increase their clinical judgment.” - Amy Lee, Minot University, Department Chair
2. Telehealth Becoming More Prominent
The pandemic amplified the relevance of telehealth, making it a key component of modern healthcare delivery. Nurses are now at the forefront of delivering remote patient care, monitoring, and education. This shift necessitates the integration of telehealth training into nursing curriculums. Students are taught about digital communication tools, virtual patient interaction techniques, and legal and ethical considerations related to telehealth.
3. Focusing on Mental Health in Nursing
As the significance of mental health continues to grow in healthcare, nursing curriculums are adapting to this crucial need. Emphasis on mental health training equips nurses to provide comprehensive, holistic care and helps them recognize and manage their own mental health. Such training includes learning about common mental health disorders, effective communication strategies with patients experiencing mental health crises, and self-care techniques for nurses themselves.
Immersive VR is one way to train nurse learners in mental health as they can practice soft communication skills and hard skills like administering a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) in a safe environment.
4. Utilizing Active Learning
Active learning, characterized by students' active engagement in the learning process, is becoming more prominent in nursing education. Techniques such as problem-based learning, flipped classrooms, and collaborative projects are being utilized to stimulate critical thinking, promote team collaboration, and improve the retention of knowledge. These methods challenge the traditional lecture-based model, offering a more dynamic and interactive educational experience.
A report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing shared, “It is expected that faculty create clinical/practice learning experiences that provide for active learning.”
5. Adopting and Integrating Tech
Modern healthcare increasingly depends on technology, and nursing education is no exception. The integration of technology in nursing education is now a must, with many schools incorporating virtual reality (VR) and simulation-based training into their curriculums.
These tools offer immersive learning experiences, allowing students to hone their clinical skills and decision-making abilities in a safe, controlled environment. UbiSim is a VR training platform built just for nurses, with scenarios created by nurse educators that align with INACSL standards.
6. Job Opportunities Due to Nursing Shortage
The nursing shortage is a global issue that has created abundant job opportunities in the field. The demand for qualified nurses across specialties is on the rise, offering graduates numerous employment possibilities. This trend is driving nursing schools to prepare their students for diverse roles in different healthcare settings, from hospitals and community health centers to home care and telehealth services.
7. Nursing Informatics Growing as a Specialty
The intersection of nursing, information science, and computer science, known as nursing informatics, is a rapidly growing specialty. It focuses on optimizing healthcare through the management and use of data and technology. As healthcare systems continue to digitalize, the need for professionals proficient in nursing informatics is expected to surge. Consequently, more nursing schools are offering courses and degrees in this specialty to meet this burgeoning demand.
A 2023 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey found, “NI expertise is valued most often for training, nursing practice support/redesign (53%), Applying data to support clinical care (42%), and System design (38%).”
Nursing education is evolving to meet the changing demands of healthcare. By responding to these trends with new techniques, nursing schools are ensuring their graduates are well-equipped to deliver quality care in the future.