How Nurses are Transforming Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

The role of the nurse has traditionally been overshadowed by the role of the doctor.

However, nurses today are playing new roles in coordinating care. From working with multiple providers, to managing caseloads of patients with intense care needs, and helping patients transition out of hospitals and into the home or other settings, they are transforming the way healthcare is given.

They are working as health coaches to prevent illness and promote wellness. They are charting new paths in emerging fields like telehealth, informatics, genetics and genomics, and as scientists and leaders in society.

Here are three ways nurses are pushing forward Healthcare in 2016.


Better Education

According to Susan Hamer, workforce development director for NIHR Clinical Research Network “Research has demonstrated that a well-educated nurse workforce leads to better patient outcomes. Nurses qualifying today may still be in the workforce in 2050. The more educationally able the workforce is, the better it is for patients and communities.”
Nurse training is now undergraduate level and leads to a degree on registration. The level of knowledge, the ability to reflect and challenge as well as appreciate the need for medicine to be evidence-based is essential.

As Edna Astbury-Ward, registered nurse and senior lecturer at the University of Chester said: “The need for nurses today to be highly trained, well-educated, critical thinkers is a requirement enabling them to make complex clinical decisions that 50 years ago would almost certainly have been made by doctors.”


Increased Role Variability

When a patient arrives at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) now, he or she is assigned an Attending Registered Nurse (ARN) for the duration of the hospital stay and after discharge. 

The ARN builds a relationship with the patient and his or her caregivers, and ensures that all members of the patient’s health care team follow a shared care plan. Unlike other RNs, ARNs are designed to promote continuity of care, ideally with a five-day, eight-hour work schedule.


The ARN is just one of the many new roles for nurses in a changing health care system. These new roles are empowering nurses to play a greater role in improving patient experiences and population health and lowering costs. 

Nurses in new roles are doing that by reducing unnecessary and costly hospital readmissions and preventable medical errors, providing more affordable, more convenient, and more patient-centered primary care in community-based settings, and more.


Empowering Technology

Wireless communication is an aspect of technology in nursing practice that helps to improve patient care and reduce physical stress for nurses. 

When a patient needs assistance, they can call the nurse’s assigned smartphone instead of pushing a button on the call light. The call is directed to the nurse wherever they may be. This not only saves the nurse thousands of steps per day running to answer call lights; it also improves efficiency. 

The nurse can bring pain medication in one step instead of walking to the patient’s room and then back and forth to get the medication. This saves steps and wear and tear on the body, which has been one factor in helping older nurses remain active in the field.

This one small innovation in technology is further empowering nurses to better deliver care.


In 2014, The Campaign for Action created the Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing Award to celebrate nurse leadership and the importance of efforts by nurses to improve health and health care.

The award recipients have worked to help medically fragile children, neurologically impaired individuals, and low-income women in rural areas, among others. Their work is helping to improve the quality of medical care, protect health care workers, reduce Medicaid costs and recruit and encourage minority nursing, to name a few. 


In 2016, nurses are well-educated through universities that focus on care coordination and critical thinking, as well as clinical skills.
They care for higher-acuity patients with 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.