The growing demand for geriatric nurse practitioners, clinical nurse leaders, and healthcare administrators is due to a few factors. The aging baby boomer population is a big part of it. Taking into consideration the increasing interest in home care, continual changes in healthcare legislation, an aging workforce, and the need for streamlined records management, it becomes increasingly clear that healthcare facilities must continue evolving — and healthcare professionals must evolve along with them. Let’s examine a few of these careers at greater length.
Geriatric Nurse Practitioners
According to the University of San Francisco, by the year 2020, the number of people aged 85 and older will have doubled: “There is the need for both geriatric nurse practitioners, who provide primary health care to older adults independently and collaboratively with other professionals, and gerontological clinical nurse specialists, who serve more of an educational function consulting with patients, families, and health care providers to provide direct care in specific areas like incontinence and dementia.” We should consider this increasing demand in the light of the changing face of elderly care.
More and more people are choosing to live out their golden years at home, rather than opting to live in an assisted care facility. There are also rising healthcare costs that factor into this decision. It is becoming more widely understood that high quality, preventative care can eliminate the need for multiple trips to the hospital or ER. According to Mary McCarthy, assistant vice president of human resources at MJHS in New York, there has been significant growth in home health, case management, hospice, palliative care and health plan assessment nursing positions.
Clinical Nurse Leaders
Have you ever wondered how medical teams with complex caseloads and patient diagnoses are able to effectively communicate with each other and coordinate the needs of each patient? Think of the Clinical Nurse Leader as the coordinator who helps facilitate and streamline information between different members of a patient’s team to ensure continuity and quality of treatment.
According to American Nurse Today, “The CNL oversees the plan of care for clients by assessing and anticipating risks as well as developing, implementing and overseeing plans of care for the clients at the unit, microsystem level.” In addition to care coordination, CNLs engage in risk assessment, outcome evaluation, communication, and continued education — all grounded in evidence-based care models that put the patient first.
Moreover, if you’re thinking about advancement tracks in the nursing field, the need for CNLs looks to remain strong for many years to come. Researchers at Georgetown University — among others — predict a shortfall of 193,000 nurses by the year 2020. Ensuring that care teams continue to cover all the bases in order to minimize risk to hospitals and other healthcare facilities will remain a priority into the next decade, and beyond.
Speaking of healthcare facilities, if you’re interested in assuming responsibility for more of the big picture, rather than through direct care, a career as a healthcare administrator may be right for you. Administrators are regularly required to oversee cases involving critical ethical decisions that require a balancing of fiscal responsibility and ethics. For example, in order to mitigate legal risks in an ethical manner, administrators may direct a surgeon to conduct a preventative procedure that will decrease the likelihood of being exposed to malpractice litigation. Administrators must weigh the pros and cons of each potential procedure, necessitating both legal and medical knowledge, in the process.
A role as a healthcare administrator is certainly not a simple one, but it provides the opportunity to make a difference at a more macro-level than direct care practitioners. It might be a good fit if you’ve ever been interested in law or business administration, or if you feel a strong pull to effect change in how a hospital or healthcare facility is run.
* * *
Are you considering a change in career, as a healthcare professional? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section once you join the community and log in.
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons