10 Ways Nurses Contribute To Better Patient Care
Undoubtedly, nurses are one of the main contributors to better patient care. No other profession in the healthcare industry has responsibilities as varied as nurses. In a team of healthcare providers, nurses have the most contact with the patient, which is why their empathy and behavior make a big difference.
A few ways nurses improve patient care daily are with compassion, empathy, due diligence, communication, and respect. In addition, they utilize their role as frontline bedside staff to help patients meet their social, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.
Here are ten ways nurses can or have already contributed to a better healthcare system.
Individualized Patient Care
One of the most foolproof ways to improve the healthcare experience is by providing individualized patient care. Unfortunately, nurses that refer to patients as the “CHF patient in Room 11,” etc., may be taking a professional approach that eliminates the human touch from patient care.
Referring to each patient by name makes a big difference, especially if you make time to understand and remember their life story. Not only does this make the patient feel understood and respected, but it also helps you reach the patient’s self-care goals faster.
Nursing requires that your education doesn’t end as soon as you have a degree. Instead, it ensures that you’re a life-long learner. As the healthcare field is endlessly evolving, one can never be adequately educated about their profession in this industry.
Whether it’s a continuing education course or an advanced nursing degree, a good nurse advances their education endlessly. They utilize means like evidence-based practice nursing examples to deliver better patient care and improve their rank as an RN. Evidence-based practice is a problem-solving approach that lowers costs, ensures satisfactory results, and improves patient care by utilizing practical experience and medical research.
Most high acuity nursing units require nurses to provide total patient care. However, the end goal for most nursing units in the country is to ensure the patient is healthy enough to perform consistent self-care.
By encouraging and empowering self-care on a daily basis, nurses take a dignified and effective approach to patient care. This ensures the patient isn’t completely dependent on their healthcare provider, helping them back to the comfort of their homes sooner. Once patients are discharged, nurses won’t be there for daily weight reminders, better food choices, or timely insulin doses.
A compassionate nurse is deeply aware of the patient’s suffering and does everything possible to relieve it. Studies show that compassion helps nurses retain patients’ independence and dignity during healthcare. It’s also worth noting that compassion as a nurse isn’t just about resonating with the patient and relieving their pain. More importantly, it’s about putting yourself in their shoes and asking, “How would I want to be treated in such a situation?” As a result, compassionate nurses enter the patient’s experience and provide healthcare in a respectful and dignified way.
Differing between empathy and sympathy is an important aspect of being a good RN. Sympathy requires you to continually find solutions for the patient’s problems when they only need a listening ear most of the time.
As an empathetic nurse, offering them comfort is the best you can do in most situations. Nurses who make their patients feel heard and understood can easily garner their trust and execute the healthcare team’s care plan.
The easiest way to worsen patient care is by ignoring basic safety protocols. This is the main reason behind patient care mishaps which occur when RNs assume a certain step or procedure is negligible. Performing with due diligence can easily help avoid this mistake on a daily basis.
No matter how big or small a task is, a good nurse follows the healthcare provider’s protocol and responsibly fulfills daily checklists. Steps that seem minor or redundant have reasoning behind them, which is why you mustn’t ignore them. For example, tending to the patient’s oral care can reduce the risk of pneumonia, and turning your patients can increase their comfort.
Patients want to be involved in every step of their healthcare journey, so nurses must maintain transparent communication with their patients about every procedure. This means they must detail the patient’s journey’s upcoming or past condition, treatment, or outcome.
Evading questions about their condition isn’t just professional; it can also increase the patient’s anxiety. Nurses can contribute to better patient care by being upfront and walking their patients through the pros and cons of every procedure.
Nurses are typically responsible for maintaining patient records and administering medications. In such cases, they utilize their organizational skills to improve the patient care experience.
These skills indirectly improve patient care by improving the healthcare environment. For example, nurses must stay vigilant enough to track and record changes in the patient’s medication or health, even in busy work situations.
Adequate Staffing Advocacy
There’s no doubt that most healthcare organizations are understaffed. However, by advocating for adequate staffing, nurses contribute to higher patient satisfaction levels due to a better patient-to-nurse ratio.
Nurses who have more time to contribute to each patient will likely provide a better healthcare experience. According to this Health Affairs research, each additional patient per nurse results in a 1.44% decrease in the patient’s likelihood to recommend the facility. The facility’s nursing expertise, type of care, and the number of patients admitted can influence the ideal nurse-to-patient ratio.
Facilities, where the nursing staff works together to provide care, have a higher patient satisfaction rate. In addition, nurses prioritizing teamwork and collaborating with their peers for every patient contribute to better patient care in their facility.
Organizations with procedures to encourage communication within the nursing staff have a better chance of providing comprehensive care and sharing patient information more readily. Nurses who build one-on-one relationships and participate in weekly meetings improve the patient’s healthcare experience.
Nurses spend more time with patients than any other healthcare team member. If anyone can make a significant difference in the patient’s healthcare experience, it’s the nurses. Nurses have improved patient care with compassion, empathy, communication, respect, and attention. Now, they can further contribute to better patient care by utilizing evidence-based practice and revolutionizing healthcare for both the patient and the provider.