As we start to see the lasting impacts of COVID-19, it’s clear that the pandemic has forever changed the nursing workforce.
New roles have emerged for nurses across Australia, while pre-existing roles are becoming areas of high demand amongst consumers and high interest amongst nurses looking to leave clinical practice.
So what are the new nursing roles emerging in this post-pandemic healthcare industry? Which roles are gaining in popularity? And what does this have to do with you?
Why are certain roles being created or surging with interest?
First, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the landscape of healthcare. Resources were redistributed from certain areas to COVID-adjacent areas, whole portions of the sector were put on hold, telehealth became a new standard, and staffing fluctuated due to increased demand meeting workforce exits. These events, amongst others, have created new areas of healthcare as well as areas with higher demand following the pandemic.
Second, healthcare professionals are burnt out. Severe exhaustion has plagued the healthcare community for over two years, and many nurses are opting to make the professional leap from clinical practice to non-clinical practice.
Which roles are emerging – or are in higher demand – post-pandemic?
Corporate Nursing Advisors: Many organisations around the world – particularly in the US, UK and Australia – have recently realised that it can be incredibly valuable to have a nurse on staff at all times to counsel employees (AHPNA, 2022). Not only does an advisor provide up-to-date explanations of COVID-19 rules and regulations, but it also gives employees guidance regarding their general physical and mental health in relation to their work.
Primary Health Care Nurses: Since telehealth surged in popularity at the start of the pandemic, community-based healthcare has developed to now refer to all forms of medical care that aim to keep a community safe, healthy and active. There is now a huge demand for primary care nurses who provide preventative support and guidance to 'diverse and contemporary' (New World Immigration, 2022) communities as well as to communities of older adults and people with disabilities.
Occupational Therapy Nurses: There has never been a higher demand for occupational therapists and occupational therapy nurses in Australia. Since COVID-19 pushed a large portion of cases from in-hospital care to allied health services, the demand for more easily-accessible allied health care has soared – especially regarding occupational therapy (Marozzi, 2022).
Medical Writers: Higher-demand roles have emerged as the public has taken a far larger interest in medical news and developments than they had pre-pandemic (Yahoo! Finance Research and Markets, 2022). Medical writing generally requires the writer to have had experience in the healthcare industry, making this a great opportunity for nurses who have retired or who need to work remotely due to their household being immunocompromised in some way.
Healthcare Educators: As Australia’s healthcare workforce expands dramatically, healthcare providers need educators to ensure staff are providing patients with high-quality care based on high-quality information. Healthcare educators are generally experts in a certain area of practice and teach – both in-person and virtually – other healthcare professionals about that area. If you want to learn more about what healthcare educators do or how to become one, read a more in-depth explanation here: How to Become a Healthcare Educator | Ausmed.
How can you prepare yourself to make a career move?
Assess your competency gaps
Ask yourself what skills are required in this new role? Subsequently, you should interrogate your confidence relating to these skills, and how you can improve them.
Managers and team leaders are great sources of information when it comes to areas that you thrive in and areas that you perhaps struggle with. Identifying these competency gaps is the hardest part: once you’ve done that, you can use an education provider such as Ausmed to locate, complete and reflect on relevant learning resources.
Research the digital literacy involved in the new role
Even just for the interview process, it’s a great idea to be knowledgeable about the kinds of technology used in this new environment.
Once you’ve located programs or devices that your prospective workplace uses, find ways to link that software or those processes to things you’ve done in the past. If you enjoy logging reports in a clinical setting, perhaps the administrative side of a non-clinical role will be a great fit for you. Or maybe if you’re a whiz when it comes to troubleshooting any tech issues around the ward, you’ll be a member of a team that works with older adults via telehealth.
Make a connection
Reach out to someone who works in that area and pick their brain. This goes back to classic networking skills and techniques, which you can learn about in more depth here: Three Types of Networking for Healthcare Professionals | Ausmed.
While you can read articles, scour social media and watch vlogs about other peoples' experiences in your potential new role, none of these compare to just having a chat with someone who’s experienced it first hand.
This being said, it can be daunting to approach someone you don’t know. List questions before you even make contact so you have a clearer idea of exactly what you want to find out and how you’re going to ask about it.
To learn about coachability and learning new transferrable skills, read this: How to be Coachable in Healthcare | Ausmed.
To learn about making more informed choices regarding the future of your career in health, read this: How Can You Make More Informed Career Choices? | Ausmed.
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Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), 2022. ‘2022 Pre-budget Submission: Strong Solutions for a Healthier Australia.’ Australian Government Treasury: Sites. Accessed 16 September 2022 via https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-03/258735_australian_primary_health_care_nurses_association.pdf
Marozzi, M., 2022. ‘Parents desperate for help as rising number of speech pathologists, OTs struggle with demand.’ ABC News. Accessed 16 September 2022 via https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-11/job-ads-go-unanswered-as-demand-for-speech-pathologists-ots-soar/101041504
New World Immigration, 2022. ‘Demand in Australia for Occupational Therapists in 2022.’ New World Immigration: Blog, Australia. Accessed 16 September 2022 via https://www.nwivisas.com/nwi-blog/australia/demand-in-australia-for-occupational-therapists-in-2022/
Yahoo! Finance Research and Markets, 2022. ‘$8.4 Billion Opportunities in the Global Medical Writing Market 2022-2030: Increasing Need for Marketable Content for New Drugs & Clinical Trials.’ Yahoo! Finance. Accessed 16 September 2022 via https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/8-4-billion-opportunities-global-110800566.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAL1w0-2wJw7_1YwBgo_OSg-3te4vvvslYlJ8AbeTsuIgpv7yokz1czCPyeM3eq8GVTBsEpM3Ih5MP_UiLJvzFd3NxEqNGfPq2N-bJvyB6eh5xWDBXxPhSRkwTWe4Enoshicly2WcdrH18DUV1xot-KEOKvuD22L7vPO6Jm5l0RzF