5 Emerging Trends and Driving Forces in Nursing Education

The nursing field is constantly changing and adapting, and with changes in the nursing profession come changes in nursing education. Understanding the changes and trends that can affect the field of nursing allows those aspiring or training to be a nurse to know about the shifts and changes that may occur in their education. Here are five crucial emerging trends in nursing education that are already taking place.

More data collection and analysis

With the ability to collect and track a variety of cases, types of illnesses and other healthcare-associated measures, there is a rising need for increased data analysis. More data being collected and analyzed means a better healthcare system in the future. When nurses can collect and analyze data, it allows conclusions to be made about how to best handle a variety of cases and decisions.

Because of the increase in data collection and analysis, nursing education has included additional coursework in collecting and analyzing data as well as reporting this data to management and other healthcare professionals. These concepts can be found in courses such as nursing research and nursing informatics.

The rise of consumer knowledge

With the increase of consumer knowledge, a patient does not merely ask what is wrong with them. Instead, a patient could have a complete list of their symptoms, possible causes, and their own diagnoses that they have found on the Internet. Many patients go as far as to research the best medications and even prepare for surgeries that they may or may not need.

Due to the rise of consumer knowledge, nursing students are being taught how to handle and manage the increase in patient awareness regarding the healthcare industry. While a nurse from thirty years ago may not have had patients doubting and questing their expertise, nurses today need to be confident in their knowledge and ability while patients have access to a massive amount of information and misinformation found on the internet.

Preventive health is on the rise

A rise in preventive health measures is already taking place. With an increasing population and many people being able to afford healthcare services, one of the most significant trends taking place is the implementation of preventive health.

Preventive health has always been important, and today it is more crucial than ever before. Being able to prevent health problems before they happen allows other critically ill patients to receive healthcare promptly. Increasing the output of preventive care information to patients will enable people to manage their health to be able to decrease the number of hospital visits.

A rise in continued education

With the increase in the variety of nursing career paths and the need for highly competent and knowledgeable nurses, continued education is rising in need. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing explains that quality patient care relies on having a well-educated workforce of nurses. Studies have shown that hospitals that hire nurses with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing led to fewer medication errors, lower mortality rates, and an increase in positive outcomes.

Besides better healthcare at hospitals that hire well-educated nurses, it is a trend that more nurses want to increase their education and have higher goals than previously reported.

An increase in technology utilization

The great increase of technology has only increased the amount of additional knowledge that nurses must have upon entering the field. Nursing schools and programs are now utilizing more technology into their curriculum because of this increasing trend.

Technology has helped increase the quality of the healthcare system as a whole, and nurses are finding it more beneficial to understand a variety of computer systems and medical records systems. The increase in technology utilization at the educational level of nursing will lead to more technologically competent nursing staff at hospitals across the country.


Looking at the emerging trends in healthcare and nursing, it is apparent that trends in nursing education include increasing knowledge and health awareness. Patients are more knowledgeable, as are nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals, and there are continuous technological advances. All of these improvements to the healthcare industry have required nurses to be more competent and smarter than they ever were before.

A well-educated nurse will have a significant impact on not just the hospital they work for, but on the healthcare industry as a whole.

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Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads is a registered nurse and a nurse educator. She earned a BSN from Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing and an MS in nursing education from Northern Illinois University. Jenna earned a PhD in education with a concentration in nursing education from Capella University where she researched the moderation effects of emotional intelligence on the relationship of stress and GPA in military veteran nursing students.