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9 Ways That Nursing Has Changed Over the Years


Like almost every profession on the planet, nursing has changed significantly in the past few years. To celebrate Certified Nurses Day (March 19, 2020), we wanted to highlight some of these major changes.

Here are nine different ways that nursing has changed over the years:

  1. Changing Locations — Twenty years ago, most nurses worked at either a hospital or a private practice. Today, home health care is really changing the way patients are treated. More and more nurses are finding jobs outside of the traditional locations giving them unique experiences. This includes the opportunity to become a travel nurse.


  1. Demographics — For years now, nurses have faced the gender stereotype that they are all women (and conversely that doctors are supposedly all men). In the past few years, that has been shifting. In recent years, more men have been entering the nursing profession and now 12% of nurses are male. As we move away from this bias, you’ll find that more people in a position to hire nurses will equally consider all genders.


  1. Training — Another thing that has changed in the past few years has been in the field of training. In the past, many nurses were trained at a technical college earning what is today considered an LPN. Registered Nurses added another level of training and now nurses can attain not only a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) but also Master’s Degrees and the advanced certification of Nurse Practitioner.


  1. Responsibility — Nurses are being given more and more responsibility in their particular field. This means that nurses also have to have more training in specific areas such as the different medications that can be prescribed and how to administer them.


  1. Specializations — In the early days of the profession, doctors would specialize but nurses didn’t. However, now you can have many different areas that cover fields such as neurology and psychiatry as well as specialized departments such as neo-natal intensive care units (NICU).


  1. Patient Contact — Today, many people enter the nursing profession because they learn something that many people don’t realize—nurses generally have more direct contact with patients than doctors do. If you are interested in having that personal connection with the patient, nursing may be the field for you.


  1. Salaries — One of the big deciding factors when picking a job has always been the salary range. In 2018, the average registered nurse in the US was making over $71,000. Considering the average salary in 1900 was less than $200, the pay has definitely come a long way.


  1. Technology — Like everything else in the 21st Century, nursing has been greatly impacted by new technology. Many nurses today use apps to automate aspects of patient care such as looking up drug information.


  1. Scrubs — This is one of those changes for which we are very thankful. Many people may remember the days of starched white uniforms complete with the nurse’s cap. But today, scrubs are the standard uniform with many nurses “jazzing” these up with bright colors and fanciful patterns.


Nursing still remains one of the top professions in the United States and it is poised to grow even more, especially with the general population living longer and needing more long-term healthcare. These nine major changes over the years will certainly not be the last as the field continues to evolve.


Whether you are considering becoming a nurse in your town, signing up for a 13 week travel nurse position, or are seeking nurses to staff your open positions, we encourage you to appreciate how far the profession has come.