National nursing survey offers insights and opportunities for hospitals and nurse leaders.
Today, Wolters Kluwer, Health released a new report that takes a closer look at the “next-generation nurse,” defined as nurses practicing less than 10 years and who are poised to influence the next two to three decades of healthcare. “Next-Generation Nurses: Empowered + Engaged,” explores the differences in attitudes and mindsets of this nursing cohort compared to their more experienced counterparts based on an independent survey of more than 350 U.S. nurses. The report, commissioned by Wolters Kluwer, brings into focus broader current trends impacting the national healthcare system and nursing workforce. It is the latest installment of the Mending Healthcare in America series produced by Wolters Kluwer.
“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the critical role nurses play in providing needed patient care. But it has also shown how much the healthcare system stands to lose if the current nursing shortage continues and clinical training doesn’t keep pace with nursing in today’s world,” said Anne Dabrow Woods, DNP, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AGACNP-BC, FAAN, Chief Nurse of Health Learning, Research and Practice, Wolters Kluwer. “The survey findings are a wake-up call for hospitals and nurse leaders whose workforces are transforming rapidly, leaving knowledge and training gaps in their wake.”
Six distinct characteristics of next-generation nurses revealed in the data include:
- Champions of consistency: 89% believe they would see better outcomes if there was more consistency in care practice.
- Proponents of value: 71% report that value-based care models are having a positive impact on treatment.
- Care equalizers: A top 5 nursing priority is social determinants of health (SDoH); these nurses advocate for more patient data so they can deliver first-class care for all
- ‘Tuned in’ to the medication crisis: 80% report it is likely there would be a drop in the use of incorrect medications if providers could tackle variability challenges.
- Tech savvy by nature: 84% believe specialized systems that provide treatment recommendations and integrate with EHRs improve how care is delivered.
- Patient’s advocate: 72% say we must do better to involve patients so that they become more empowered to participate in their own care.
The findings show that nurses earlier in their career embrace a patient-centered approach to care that is inclusive of SDoH. “Next-generation nurses’ emphasis on social determinants of health will be increasingly important post- COVID-19 as public health, community health and primary health come together. But they will need the guidance of experienced nurses to fully understand cost variability and various challenges to clinical practice,” added Dabrow Woods. “How healthcare institutions respond to the differences between these nurse populations is crucial to the future of the profession.”
The survey revealed where next-generation nurses have blind spots compared to those nurses who are more experienced. The biggest gaps include cost variation and the important role of evidence. Just 73% of next-generation nurses recognize there are pricing differences for the same treatment or procedure compared to 90% of experienced nurses. Their lack of awareness presents both challenges and opportunities for today’s healthcare organizations.
“The varying viewpoints are a signal to hospitals and schools of nursing, which must recognize that the global workforce of nursing is rapidly transitioning and their education, training, retention strategies and availability of technology and tools must keep pace. This next-generation of caregivers is making their mark and are poised to sustain the profession while navigating changing care models in the face of new and unprecedented challenges in the healthcare system,” added Julie Stegman, Vice President, Nursing Segment, Health Learning, Research and Practice, Wolters Kluwer.
Next-generation nurses represented 35% of the total nurse respondent base (122 nurses out of 352 nurse respondents).
In June 2019, Wolters Kluwer commissioned Regina Corso Consulting to look for shifting trends and perceptions through an online survey of the four key audiences in healthcare — physicians, nurses, hospital executives, and consumers. “Mending Healthcare in America 2020,” study helped explore how they feel about variability and risks in healthcare. The survey comprised 1,837 respondents in total: 1,000 consumers, 18 years or older who are U.S. residents, 232 of whom were in a hospital for a stay or a procedure in the past year; 352 nurses, 100 of whom are nurse practitioners, 50 of whom are chief nursing officers or nursing directors, and 202 of whom are general nurses; 302 physicians; and 150 hospital vice presidents or higher. For the consumer group, the sample was balanced by age, gender, and region.
The first installment, “Mending HealthCare in America 2020: Consumers & Cost,” was released in November 2019 and showed alignment and deep divisions in how patients and providers view healthcare.