In the last 20 years:
1. Nurses have become more vocal and political, raising the bar of professional presence and patient advocacy
2. More college prepared RNs and/or RNs desiring further college education (as well as more opportunities to become an RN...accelerated, bridge, and distance learning)
3. More men in Nursing...5 times the amount of male nurses since I became a RN 20 years ago
4. Nurses becoming more advanced in practice due to more state legislatures becoming more willing to advance the profession as a whole despite opposing political pressures
5. Less and less female nurses holding on to the traditional/servant garb, such as caps, nurse uniform dresses and hose, for more unisex attire...ie scrubs
6. Although still present in areas (old habits die hard), the concept of nursing being a "feminine" occupation is much less...much because of males coming into the profession and females tearing down inaccurate stereotypes (sex kittens, battle axes, dumb blondes (sic), handservants/ selfless servants)
What has not changed has been the public perception as to what nurses REALLY do or what nurses REALLY are...much due to inaccurate portrayals in the media. This is the frontier that has yet to be adequately addressed and/or resolved.