How Have Nursing Careers Evolved Since the Pandemic?

Nursing has always been a career dedicated to caring for others, but the global COVID-19 pandemic elevated the profession to new heights. When the coronavirus started spreading in early 2020, hospitals filled beyond capacity with struggling patients. 

The nurses performed the difficult, sometimes heartbreaking work of tending to the ill day after day. Working long hours in head-to-toe protective gear, they provided comfort and medical support even as loved ones couldn’t visit.

The selflessness shown by these champions inspired admiration from around the world. As the virus relentlessly swept across communities, they fearlessly filled the frontlines of healthcare. Now, four years since the pandemic began, its impacts on nursing careers have been profound. 

In this article, we will explore how nursing careers have evolved since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Role of Nurses During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the critical work that nurses do every day. People now have a better understanding of nursing based on what they saw in the media or experienced personally.

Eve Hinds an experienced nurse, has noticed this change in perspective. With over 20 years in nursing, including time in critical care and surgery settings, she says people now view her profession differently than before. “Pre-pandemic, nursing was just considered a job,” she notes. “But now, when I tell people I’m a nurse, they seem to understand more fully how important that role is.”

Images in the news showed hospital staff caring for patients in emergency scenarios. And Eve also witnessed less dramatic but no less painful impacts of the virus. As a community health nurse, she saw firsthand how the pandemic exacerbated existing challenges for vulnerable groups. 

Lockdowns meant many of her working-class patients couldn’t avoid exposure through their jobs. As a result, some became sick with COVID-19 or faced other hardships like housing instability, food insecurity, and domestic violence.

Sadly, the pandemic also led to non-medical losses like family separation. Eve watched as policies tore immigrant families apart through the deportation of parents, even amidst widespread illness and job loss. Combined with increased enforcement, these political actions deepened the crisis in at-risk communities already reeling from disease and financial strain.

In Eve’s view, the pandemic has been a nightmare for her most marginalized patients. Beyond sickness, they faced cascading consequences, including heartbreak, desperation, and the loss of stability during an already chaotic time. 

Her experience highlights the crucial role of nursing in supporting patients’ overall health and well-being, especially in periods of widespread crisis.

The Evolution and Impact of Nursing Post-COVID-19

#1 The Growth of Remote Learning in Nursing Education 

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of distance learning in healthcare education. 

A recent study examining the evolution of online education suggests that higher education institutions are reassessing their priorities. This is due to the increasing demand for remote learning options in the post-pandemic era.

The latest edition of an annual report on online/hybrid learning in higher education is based on surveys of chief online officers from numerous institutions. It provides insights into the experiences and trends observed during the 2021-2022 academic year. This report, now in its eighth year, is a collaborative effort between two reputable research organizations.

In the field of nursing education, online and hybrid ABSN programs have become increasingly popular. Many aspiring nurses are now pursuing their BSN degrees through digital platforms.

A typical online BSN program allows students to complete their coursework entirely online while participating in hands-on clinical experiences in real-world settings. 

Rockhurst University says these programs often incorporate virtual simulations, using computer technology, virtual reality, or augmented reality to create lifelike clinical scenarios. This approach provides students engaging and interactive learning experiences that closely mimic real-world situations.

#2 The Growing Role of Telemedicine in Nursing

Telemedicine has proven to be an effective way for patients to access healthcare. This is without needing to physically visit a clinic. Telemedicine eliminates the need for patients to sit in a waiting room before seeing a provider. 

Telemedicine seems particularly well-suited to certain groups. The ease of virtual visits can benefit people with impaired immune systems, the elderly, and those living in rural areas. Without needing to travel long distances to a clinic, telemedicine can make healthcare more accessible for these vulnerable populations.

In fact, telemedicine is here to stay as far as nursing. As technology evolves to meet patient needs, telemedicine may play an expanding role in nursing by helping overcome barriers to prompt medical attention. With its demonstrated ability to streamline care delivery, telemedicine seems to become a mainstream part of the healthcare system.

#3 Detail-Oriented Nurses Are in Demand

Experts say effective communication between nurses and patients is more important than ever. Phone assessments have presented challenges in gathering crucial information. Nurses must ask thorough questions to obtain medical histories and check for any changes in condition. They also need to speak with family if patients cannot provide details themselves.

This emphasizes how vital observation skills are for nursing. Noticing subtle signs can help caregivers promptly identify needs and make appropriate adjustments. Compassion is also critical, especially in behavioral health settings. Patients dealing with mental health issues need staff who demonstrate genuine care, understanding, and empathy.

Nurses attuned to important details can build rapport even without in-person contact. Caring, observant personnel are indispensable for providing quality care no matter the circumstances. These skills have always been central to our team and remain so during this challenging time.

#4 Flexibility Leads to Leadership Opportunities

During the pandemic, hospitals implemented various patient care strategies, including adapting existing units. ICUs expanded their roles while step-down units cared for patients recovering from critical illness. 

The pandemic demanded flexibility from healthcare systems. By thinking creatively about existing unit functions and space utilization, facilities improved patient outcomes. The adaptive approach also resulted in career advancement opportunities for nurses. They took on wider scopes of practice and management responsibilities during a time of urgent need.


1. What are the latest developments in nursing?

A: The integration of advanced technologies has significantly transformed nursing practices. Notably, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized various aspects of healthcare delivery. AI-powered tools now assist in streamlining diagnostic processes, enhancing accuracy, and predicting patient outcomes more precisely. 

2. What challenges do newly graduated nurses typically face?

A: One of the primary hurdles for recent nursing graduates is adapting to the demanding nature of their profession. Many struggle with effective time management as they navigate their responsibilities, including direct patient care, maintaining accurate medical records, administering medications, and other duties.

3. What factors are driving rapid changes in the nursing profession?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased staffing shortages and the need for healthcare services. This situation will likely persist as the rate of nurses retiring outpaces new entrants to the profession. Demographics play a significant role, with over half of registered nurses being 50 or older and many planning to retire within the next decade. 

In the end, while the road ahead remains uncertain, nurses have shown their ability to withstand immense pressure through compassion. Nursing stands transformed as demand grows for holistic skills and flexible leadership. 

The nursing field is strengthened by shared sacrifice and rewarded with greater respect, opportunities, and roles in steering healthcare delivery today and tomorrow. The impacts of this unprecedented time will resonate through the profession for years.