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10 Nursing Trends to Watch in 2024

Calm, committed and compassionate. 

Efficient, encouraging and effective. 

Diligent, determined and decisive. 

These positive qualities and hundreds more define the role of registered nurses (RNs). Nurses serve the public by educating patients, offering life-saving care, and improving health outcomes for people of all ages. It is no wonder that in 2024, Americans continue to rank nurses as the most honest and trustworthy professionals in the United States, according to Gallup’s most recent poll. 

As technology and modern medicine advance and the nursing shortage continues, opportunities for nurses to find meaningful, well-paying work continue to grow. In this blog, we’ll identify and explore ten nursing trends for 2024.



1. Online nursing programs will continue to be popular.

Over the years, online education of many types has continued to grow in popularity. Students, especially working ones, enjoy the flexibility of online programs (along with other benefits). For many who live in rural areas, online education has opened up learning opportunities that would have been unthinkable before the internet. 

These programs have steadily become more mainstream, regularly featured in articles from influential publishers that tout the many benefits of virtual learning

For nurses, online education should only increase in significance. Online programs have long been used to further education, create new opportunities and advance careers. Nursing trends in education this year will likely include artificial intelligence tools that can support students as they learn. Some programs may deploy chatbots that can offer assistance 24/7, and faculty that use AI to help with lesson planning may be able to offer personalized, inclusive learning strategies for each student.


2. Nurse salaries will continue to top national averages.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nurses made a median salary of $81,220 in 2022. Registered nurses earned an even greater annual wage in hospitals, taking home a mean salary of $90,600.

How do these figures compare to the national average? Across all occupations, the annual mean wage is $61,800, meaning nurses earn nearly $20,000 more than the average worker. 

With rising inflation, several industries have found their salary numbers falling behind the cost of living. The nursing profession doesn’t appear to face this problem, and salaries that keep pace with rising costs will likely continue to be a top nursing trend in 2024.


3. The nursing shortage will persist, with some solutions being put to the test.

America is in the middle of a nursing shortage, and the problem will continue through 2024. Several factors contribute to the shortage, including: 

  • Nurses are reaching retirement age. Roughly one-third of the current nursing population could retire in the next 10 to 15 years. 
  • An aging population requires more care. The last Baby Boomers will reach retirement age in 2029, resulting in a 73% increase in Americans over 65. 

Amid the continuing nursing shortage, some states and organizations have introduced solutions to help close the gap. Here are some efforts that have been made to help the nursing shortage, and it will be interesting to observe their impact on nursing trends in 2024. 

  • In 2023, a new bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives that would create a task force and propose federal solutions for the national nursing shortage.
  • The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is advocating for federal legislation and more funding to further nursing education (Title VIII, FAAN Act).
  • As part of a bill to strengthen nursing education, the state of Virginia announced in 2023 they will commit $9.5 million dollars to support the nursing workforce 
  • The Center for American Progress released a report on How to Ease the Nursing Shortage in America in May 2022, highlighting how state and federal policymakers can practically address the shortage moving forward. 


4. Job opportunities will continue to grow.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses (RN) will grow by 6% between 2022-2032. 

Over 193,100 job openings for RNs are projected to be available each year. Health care settings where services such as chemotherapy, outpatient surgeries, and rehabilitation therapy are provided are expected to need more nurses. As the Baby Boomer generation grows older, nurses are required to provide education on chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. As the need for mental health care in the United States continues to expand, more jobs will be available for nurses to work in psychiatric health care settings.

Overall, there continues to be a growing need and opportunity to fulfill various roles within the nursing profession.

A pair of nurses discussing a patient while walking up stairs

5. More nurses will earn a BSN.

As health care systems work to increase the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees (BSN), nurses seeking higher degrees through online nursing programs will remain a top nursing trend in 2024. 

Why the demand for more BSN holders? 

In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a report about the future of nursing, in which they recommended more nurses hold a higher degree than an associate’s. The original goal was for 80% of registered nurses to have a bachelor’s by 2020. 

While the revised target is to meet that number by 2029, it may happen as soon as 2025. The 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey found that 65.2% of RNs have attained their baccalaureate degrees, which reflects a 7.8% increase between 2013 and 2020. 

RNs with BSNs enjoy more job prospects, higher salaries and better patient outcomes. Nurses who hold BSN degrees qualify for roles like nurse manager, nurse educator and clinical research nurse. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing conducted a survey in 2023 regarding employment for new nurse graduates, and the results show that nearly 25% of hospitals and other health care settings require new hires to have a BSN. Nearly 70% of employers strongly preferred graduates to have a BSN.

Regarding patient outcomes, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites studies that have found a 5% decrease in the risk of patient death and failure when hospitals increased their employment of BSN-holding nurses by 10%.


6. Nurses will navigate a changing legal and ethical landscape.

Policy changes and new medical practices will mean nurses need to stay up-to-date on current issues. Requirements surrounding patient privacy, informed consent, and digital record sharing are all changing regularly, requiring regular education so practicing RNs can perform accordingly. Nurse empowerment and growing involvement with proposed healthcare reforms will be a focus for industry leaders in 2024 

Changes in medical technology have shifted the conversations around end-of-life care, pain management, and managing chronic conditions. No matter their intended specialty, these conversations are affecting how the healthcare profession is defining best practices.

In 2024, nurses will start to see and feel the impact of these medical advances and policy changes on the day-to-day standard of care.

A group of nurses looking confidently at the camera

7. Nurses will use AI tools to drive better patient outcomes.

AI innovations are happening rapidly across almost every industry, and healthcare is no exception. For a long time, artificial intelligence was a prospective tool that could make a big difference in patient lives in a hypothetical future. But in the past twelve months, that long-awaited future has arrived. Even Google predicts that 2024 will be a banner year for AI to improve efficiency and reduce administrative burdens in healthcare.

Nurses must take the lead here and lean in how AI informs their role. AI will be used to make care decisions, educate parents, and keep accurate, up-to-date records. Some trending AI innovations in nursing for this year include:

  • Clinical documentation improvement solutions, which can analyze patient charts and identity opportunities for clarification, spot missing information, and point out coding discrepancies before official submission
  • Virtual health assistants who can educate and answer patient questions, taking some of that workload off of nurses 
  • Clinical decision support systems that can analyze a patient’s health data and support nurses through recommendations on treatment options and medication dosages 


8. Nurses will deliver more preventative care. 

An emphasis on preventative care—what it is, and what it could be—will continue to be a nursing trend for 2024.

Every year, the emphasis on offering preventative care is growing. Patients, industry professionals, and even health insurance companies are beginning to understand that it is far more affordable to keep a healthy person healthy as they grow older than to manage a chronic or incurable condition. Nurses will be empowered to design care models, educate and inform patients how to protect their health as they age.


9. Delivery models will continue to shift and expand.

The capabilities of telemedicine and other remote platforms have increased tremendously over the past few years. This will only increase as individuals and organizations imagine how technology can further benefit patients and lead to greater job satisfaction for nurses who desire remote work options. 

In their recent Future of Work in Nursing Survey, McKinsey found that nurses are excited and willing to try different care delivery models. American Health & Drug Benefits reports that at-home patient care delivery is increasing. Given these shifts, the American Nurses Association encourages nurses to

  • Embrace technology to deliver excellent nursing care virtually. 
  • Revolutionize education by incorporating virtual reality and team-based learning opportunities made possible by technology. 
  • Accept the flexible, autonomous and support-minded workforce. 

Experiencing new technology, adapting to an increasingly digital landscape, and embracing virtual trends in nursing will be essential to—and exciting for—the future of health care. 


10. Remote monitoring will matter in health care.

Wearable devices allow patients to continually track and share their health data with their healthcare providers, allowing for a level of remote monitoring that was never possible in the past. Health care professionals can now use data from remote monitoring to see changes in sleep patterns, activity, fatigue, medication side effects, cardiovascular health and much more.

This allows for proactive decisions from healthcare professionals based on more comprehensive data sets for each individual. It can also mean patients get an early diagnosis and treatment for conditions that might have taken years to catch. Nurses may be positioned well to orchestrate the care provided based on this data as well as to educate patients on how to set up remote monitoring with their care team, as well as track, document and assess data that come from wearable or use-at-home technology.


Marymount Will Continue to Equip Caring, Compassionate and Committed Nurses. 

One nursing trend we can promise is that we’ll be here, providing our nursing students with a quality education right outside the nation’s capital. We love empowering our students and equipping them with the tools they need to make a difference locally, nationally, and internationally. 

At Marymount, we understand that hands-on experience is an integral part of any nursing degree. That’s why we offer free clinical placement services for online students. We want to ensure our online nursing students can focus on working and studying while a team of professionals secures an appropriate clinical placement and preceptor. 

The entry-level option for students with non-nursing undergraduate degrees is the Online ABSN. In just 16 months, Online ABSN students complete the following requirements in preparation for RN careers: 

  • An on-campus residency 
  • Clinical placements in Virginia 
  • 100% online courses on topics like Research and Evidence-Based Practice 

Marymount’s ABSN is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Nursing courses at Marymount are taught by practicing APRNs who can speak with authority about the profession. The university’s stellar reputation is confirmed by top U.S. News & World Report rankings in its National Universities and Nursing categories.

If you want to become an RN, contact one of our student advisors to discuss if this program is right for you. 


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