Nursing during an era of change: A challenge and opportunity

Marty Martin


Healthcare in the United States and other nations is changing dramatically at an unprecedented pace. In the United States, these sweeping changes are partially a result of the Affordable Care Act. Across the world including the United States, the other driving forces include an aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic, lifestyle related diseases, advances in technology, and pressures to lower costs. Nursing has always led and adapted to changes in healthcare delivery. Based upon a review of the literature and an analysis of forecasted changes, this paper outlines seven driving forces of change confronting nurses today. These changes are presented as both challenges and opportunities. These changes redefine the role of nurses today. Five specific changes in role are discussed as well as seven specific actions for nurses to take to embrace the vast changes characterizing healthcare today and shaping healthcare tomorrow. The key for nurses is to take deliberative action to seize opportunities arising from these changes, to reshape challenges embedded in these changes, and to stimulate a change agenda aligned with the unique role and competencies of nursing as a profession.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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