In the next few years, will we look back at 2010 and identify it as the year healthcare began to change. From controversial legislation to plans for widespread reorganization and rethinking of the way care is delivered, 2010 has certainly been dramatic.
The issues have been no less profound in nursing. 2010 has seen an IOM report that offers a blueprint for the profession's future and nursing leaders have been fighting to ensure nurses' involvement in the rethinking of healthcare delivery. Along the way, there have been turf fights, labor battles, and more attention paid to the difficulties faced by new nurses.
Here's a rundown of the most popular nursing stories we covered in 2010 in case you missed them, or just want to have another look.
1. Has the Nursing Shortage Disappeared?
Around the country, new graduate nurses reported being unable to find open positions in their specialty of choice, and even more shockingly, many found it tough to find any openings at all. These new RNs entered school with the promise that nursing is a recession-proof career and that the nursing shortage would guarantee them employment whenever and wherever they wanted.
Many rejoiced that the days of hiring bonuses and begging nurses to join an organization were behind them. But the end of the nursing shortage is just an illusion created by hiring freezes and older nurses postponing retirement.
2. Nursing's Growing Role
Not so many years ago, nurses wore white uniforms and stiff white caps. This picture is as antiquated now as today's nursing model will be in 20 years. Today's non-cap-wearing, scrub-bedecked nurses are increasingly well-educated at colleges and universities that focus on care coordination and critical thinking, as well as clinical skills. They care for higher-acuity patients with more comorbidities and increasingly complicated care needs in the course of shorter lengths of stay. Nurses today are technologically savvy critical thinkers who coordinate care across a broad spectrum of healthcare. To be successful, they must be well-educated, well-trained, and able to lead patient care.