Nursing is evolving, and there are now more opportunities for pediatric and neonatal nurses than ever before. With almost half a million babies born prematurely in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control, there is currently a high demand for pediatric nurses.
There is also overall growth in healthcare, and pediatric and neonatal nurses can take advantage of this growth to help reduce childhood mortality rates, offer better care, and thereby help improve the health of their most vulnerable patients. If you are interested in becoming a nurse, here is a look at how pediatric and neonatal care will change in the next few years.
A Focus on Mental Health
In the past few decades, healthcare professionals have made huge advancements in the field of mental health. Research is always being carried out in this area, with the Center of Disease Control releasing figures on mental issues among children in 2013.
To prevent mental health issues from affecting adults, pediatrics will have to focus on early diagnosis as well as the treatment of mental issues in children and adolescents. It is encouraging to see that some nursing programs that focus on teaching pediatric care already emphasize mental health care and treatment in children and teenagers.
Use of Technology
New technologies are improving pediatric and neonatal care and making them more streamlined. These technologies are being used in areas such as coordinating and managing patient information, storing and retrieving patient medical records and history, and predicting medical issues through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Two examples include the use of smartphone apps to take a close look at a patient’s eyes, and the use of pills containing sensors to detect and track various medical issues in transplant patients.
These new technologies will allow physicians and nurses to get accurate data about their patients no matter where they may be. By doing so, they will be paving the way for holistic approaches to childhood care.
The use of data analysis methods will also help medical practitioners find areas they need to focus on as well as the medical issues that impact the infants and children in their areas so they can tackle them before they become bigger issues.
In the future, we will continue to see more nurses who have specialized in pediatric and neonatal care. There are several reasons for this, including more nurses following their passions, the higher salary a career in pediatrics and neonatal care attracts, as well as the increased opportunities for nurses to take the requisite degrees that earn them these positions.
Nurses who want to specialize in pediatric care can now enroll in online pediatric nurse practitioner programs, while those who want to specialize in neonatal care can enroll in similar programs, just with a focus on neonatal care.
A Focus on Subspecialties
In adults, there are doctors who deal with lots of subspecialties. For example, we have doctors dealing with virology, diabetes, oncology, nutrition and so on. This has not yet happened in pediatric and neonatal care, although some experts, such as Professor Alan Michael Weindling from the University of Liverpool, believe that subspecialties will take over in neonatal and pediatric care.
These, he says, could include neonatal and pediatric endocrinology, bacterial and viral infections, cardiology and nutrition.
With a focus on such subspecialties and more, nurses and physicians will be able to improve patient outcomes by allowing the most specialized doctor or nurse to take care of the exact patient needs they focus on.
Incorporating Family and Social Dynamics
Although all facets of healthcare focus on providing empathetic and sensitive care to their patients, pediatric care requires a very delicate and sensitive touch. Social and family dynamics have a huge impact on children’s mental and physical health and must be considered if physicians and nurses want to provide the best care for their patients.
In many cases, nurses might not agree with the wishes of the patient’s wishes or cultural and social beliefs. However, they still need to be sensitive about these dynamics because not catering to them might lead to less than optimal outcomes for their patients.
This is because these dynamics affect how parents take diagnoses, treatment plans and medications, and they are ultimately responsible for ensuring their children adhere to the guidelines offered by their physicians and doctors.
As the world becomes more connected, nurses and physicians will continue to interact with patients and parents who are from different backgrounds and who subscribe to different belief systems. All these have to be taken into account if healthcare professionals want to ensure the best outcomes for their patients.
Evidence-Based Pediatric Care
There is so much information about pediatric care in the world right now. Informed pediatricians are becoming more aware of medical research that impacts patient care. However, many barriers still remain when it comes to the incorporation of this research into pediatric care.
Evidence-based pediatric care aims to give nurses and physicians the necessary tools to sift through all this information and analyze it based on known evidence about its benefits and risk to their patients. Once healthcare professionals can do this, they will have achieved the main aim of evidence-based healthcare.
By applying the principles of evidence-based healthcare, physicians and nurses will be sure they are giving their patients the best care and treatments based on the best information that is available at the time. As new information becomes available, it should also be put through the same analysis so that it can be incorporated if there is enough evidence about its potential benefits to patients.
Healthcare is changing, and we hope to see many positive changes in pediatric and neonatal care. Many of these changes are geared towards arming nurses and physicians with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide the best care to their patients, and doing so will benefit everyone both in the short term and in the long term.