Nursing School Interview Hot Topic: Advancements in Nursing


In the last 120 years, Nursing has made many advances. Since the days of Florence Nightingale, when it was first seen as a profession that needed professionalism and rules of conduct, it has matured into a variety of specialties and disciplines. IN this article we will look at advancements in Nursing since 1900, with a particular focus on the most recent advancements.

1900 - 1960

In 1900 we saw the first issue of the American Journal of Nursing – a crucial step toward Nursing being recognised as a profession that required education, intellect, skill and scientific knowledge.

The discovery of antibiotics would have a huge impact on nursing, with different patients now coming into the care of nurses, and nurses now responsible for providing antibiotics to those patients. Vaccines would also become increasingly commonly provided, and it was the job of nurses to vaccinate patients.

In the 1960s, nurses in the USA began to study bachelor’s and master’s degrees, beginning the move toward nurses being higher educated professionals.

Recent Technological Changes

Some recent technological advancements include needleless connectors, which have massively reduced the incidence of needlestick injuries, IV pumps, which are able to administer drugs automatically over a given period of time, automatic ventilators, which revolutionised the care of critically ill patients and premature babies, and digital technologies, which have seen nurses increasingly using electronic patient records, sending scans electronically, and the advent of healthcare apps and telehealth. Alongside this, we have seen mobile monitoring devices and smart beds that monitor their occupants’ movements and vital signs.

Changes to the Profession Itself

In the last fifty years, nurses have moved from the white outfits one will recognise from fancy dress and old films, to scrubs. Nurses are more ethnically diverse, there are more men working in the field, and nurses are able to specialise in the domains that they enjoy.

As healthcare workers work more and more in teams, learning from each other to advance patient care, nurses have an opportunity to grow as leaders. Nurses’ voices will help guide healthcare as a whole, and on a smaller scale nurses are able to take an ever more active part in decisions made in MDTs, and decisions that affect wards and hospitals. Nurses are able to deliver patient centred care, and to help other providers of care – like doctors – to better work in a patient-centred model. Nurse Practitioners are an illustration of how far Nursing has come. They are able to work independently, assess, diagnose, treat and prescribe medication.

With leadership comes responsibility, and nurses will now feel more responsible for patients than before, being in charge of their education as well as their care. It is nurses that must take on much of the promotion of public health, and of explaining to patients the details of their disease or their treatment.

Potential questions which may be asked in the interview

  • What has changed in Nursing in the last 50 years?
  • What has changed in Nursing in the last 20 years?
  • What are the differences between working as a nurse in 1960, and working as a Nurse now, apart from the technological changes?
  • What roles are nurses now able to take up that best illustrate how the profession has changed in the last 50 years?
  • What technological changes are you aware of that have changed the field of Nursing?
  • Choose one technological advance that has changed Nursing, and explain how it has done so.
  • Why is it important that nurses are able to act as leaders in our healthcare system?
  • Do you think recent advances in technology make a nurse’s life easier, or more complex?

How to answer questions on this topic

Have an overview of the most important changes made in recent years to the Nursing profession itself – how nurses’ roles have changed and shifted to become what they are now are. You should be cognisant of what life was like as a nurse previously, and able to compare this to today’s nurses, who are leaders, researchers and scientists – not doctors’ assistants.

Also be aware of a few technological changes, and research one in some detail so that you are confident speaking on it at your interview.

Further Reading....

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