7 Hot Topics in Nursing in 2024

smiling nurse with patient
smiling nurse with patient

Many factors are expected to influence nursing practice in 2024, from artificial intelligence to climate change. Staying up-to-date with nursing trends will help you explore new opportunities in nursing practice, whether you are a current nurse or interested in a career change to nursing. Keep reading to learn about seven hot topics in nursing that will affect how nurses deliver care, improve public health, and shape the future of nursing.

1. Growing Nurse Demand

The shortage of U.S. nurses continues to be a hot topic in nursing.

Between 2022 and 2032, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nurse employment to grow twice as fast as the average for all jobs. It projects an average of over 190,000 job openings per year. Nursing jobs will be particularly plentiful in hospitals, outpatient centers, home health, and long-term care.

Nursing is an in-demand profession because:

  • The population of aging adults is growing, creating a greater need for geriatric health care.
  • The number of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, is increasing.
  • More nurses are retiring, with approximately 20% of registered nurses intending to retire in the next five years.

Job stability is one of many reasons to be a nurse. New nurses can help address the nursing shortage while making a difference in people’s lives and enjoying the benefits of a stable career path.

2. Artificial Intelligence

In 2023, artificial intelligence (AI) became mainstream. OpenAI launched ChatGPT, which placed AI at the center of everyday workflows in many industries. Health care also delved into potential applications, even after historically lagging in AI adoption.

Health care leaders expect the industry to shift towards greater AI implementation in 2024.

As the largest segment of the health care workforce, nurses will contribute significantly to the safe and effective adoption of AI. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has called on nurses to:

  • Support the use of AI for optimal health outcomes.
  • Ensure AI applications do not compromise the nurse-patient relationship. 
  • Stay informed about AI so they can educate patients and families.

Nurses who provide direct patient care may begin using AI to support decision-making, document verbal interactions with patients, and monitor patients remotely. Those willing to adopt AI in ethical and appropriate applications can improve the precision and speed of health care.

3. Telehealth

Telehealth use spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. In March 2020, there was a 154% increase in telehealth visits compared to the same period in 2019.

Though telehealth use has slowed since the height of the pandemic, analysts predict growth in 2024 for chronic care management and primary care.

Nurses can use remote technologies to deliver health care, education, and information. In doing so, they have new opportunities to transform health care, including:

  • Delivering high-quality care remotely.
  • Growing health care accessibility.
  • Improving patient outcomes.

Nurses can use telehealth to reach patients in underserved areas. They can conduct virtual consultations, share patient information, and monitor patients remotely. Telehealth also allows nurses to expand their skills and advance their careers.

4. Nurse Mental Health

Nurse well-being is a hot topic in the post-coronavirus pandemic world. A 2023 study by McKinsey and the American Nurses Foundation found that 56% of nurses had experienced burnout symptoms. The prevalence was highest among new nurses.

Numerous factors can lead to nurse burnout. In the study, nurses reported insufficient staffing, high caseloads, poor leadership, and an overload of administrative tasks. The coronavirus pandemic deepened some of these challenges, and nurses are still navigating the continuing effects today.

Nurse well-being is critical to patient safety. Fortunately, new nurses can influence positive change by:

  • Advocating for better mental health support and resources.
  • Developing and modeling self-care practices.
  • Fostering support networks to help nurses feel less isolated.

Stakeholders are taking action to protect nurse well-being. For example, the American Nurses Foundation recently launched the Stress and Burnout Prevention Program, which helps nurses address burnout, manage stress, and increase confidence.

5. Pandemic Preparedness

As the world continues navigating the unpredictable future of COVID-19, health care organizations will emphasize public emergency preparedness in 2024.

The World Health Organization recently updated its COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, and the U.S. federal government created the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the potential rapid global impact of public health emergencies. As frontline health care professionals, nurses play a vital role in preparedness.

Nurses will help improve preparedness by:

  • Assisting organizations and communities in the development and implementation of emergency preparedness plans.
  • Providing education on disaster preparedness and immunizations to patients, families, and communities.
  • Monitoring the spread of infectious diseases and collecting and analyzing data to detect the early signs of public health emergencies.

6. Climate Change

The world experienced notable climate changes in 2023. Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest maximum level, and the Earth experienced the hottest summer on record.

There is growing potential for climate change to threaten public health. For example, between 2007 and 2018, wildfires in the western United States led to increased emergency department visits related to anxiety.

ANA has urged nurses to participate in and support “climate-smart” health care. As advocates for health and safety, nurses can take action through their work settings, public policy, and nursing associations:

  • Advocating for health care organizations to prioritize nurse staffing in disaster preparedness.
  • Contributing to reducing the environmental impact of nursing practice.
  • Advocating for health care policies that foster just and equitable climate responses.
  • Participating and sharing evidence-based information in climate change discussions.

7. Online Education

Enrollment in online degree programs is rising. In a recent survey, 56% of chief online officers at higher education institutions said enrollment in online and hybrid programs had increased. Students value the convenience of online programs, which they can participate in anywhere with an Internet connection.

Online degree programs are a hot topic in nursing education. Many nursing students are earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online.

In an online BSN program, students complete all coursework online and undertake clinical experiences in the field. Online programs often integrate virtual simulation. Clinical scenarios are simulated via computer, virtual reality, or augmented reality, providing students with realistic and interactive learning opportunities.

Some colleges and universities offer Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs online. If you’re wondering, “What is an ABSN?”, it’s a degree option for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline. ABSN programs allow individuals to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 11 to 18 months, a much shorter period than a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Start Your Journey to Becoming a Nurse with Rockhurst University Online

While nursing practice continues to evolve to meet the needs of society, the heart of nursing remains the same. Nursing is a highly specialized profession where compassionate, dedicated individuals safeguard public health.

Do current nursing trends pique your interest in a nursing career? If so, you may want to consider Rockhurst University’s online ABSN program, delivered by the highly respected Saint Luke’s™ College of Nursing and Health Science at Rockhurst University. It prepares individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline to become skilled nurses in just 16 months.

The Rockhurst online ABSN program integrates the following:

  • 100% online coursework
  • A 10-day residency in a state-of-the-art simulation lab on the Rockhurst University campus in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Complimentary clinical placement services in your region
  • 1:1 NCLEX success coaching which has led to high NCLEX pass rates for Rockhurst University’s nursing graduates

After graduation, students can also access one-to-one coaching to prepare for the national nurse licensure exam, the NCLEX.

Learn more about Rockhurst’s hybrid ABSN program.

About Rockhurst University's Online Programs

In the heart of Kansas City since 1910, Rockhurst University is dedicated to learning, leadership and service in the Jesuit tradition, and today is the #1 Regional University in Kansas City (2021 U.S. News and World Report).

Rockhurst University’s online programs are delivered by the highly reputable Saint Luke’s ™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the School of Education. As an educational leader serving exceptional students in the field of health care and education, we are committed to preparing the workforce of tomorrow with our unique programs designed to prepare graduates to meet the needs of diverse populations and work in various organizations.

To learn more about our highly competitive online programs, please visit onlinedegrees.rockhurst.edu, or read more here: