If you walk down the busy hallways of a hospital, you will see nurses rushing from one room to another. Nurses are constantly on their feet, running up and down the hallways to check on patients and avert life-threatening emergencies. They hardly get a moment’s rest between their regular shift schedules and mandatory overtime requirements.
Nurses are overworked, exhausted, and underappreciated, yet they remain devoted to patient care and safety. They spend more time building personal connections with patients and providing emotional support than other healthcare practitioners.
Nurse practitioners improve patient care by pursuing higher education, cultivating clinical authority, and enhancing their skills. They lead healthcare teams with utmost diligence to safety standards and quality controls, personalizing care processes to address patient needs and demands. Keep reading to explore some crucial ways nurses can improve patient care standards.
Innovating Patient Care Practices
Nursing research is instrumental in formulating new patient care practices and improving existing safety standards. Nurse researchers participate in clinical trials, empirical research, and case studies to investigate impactful treatments and caregiving techniques. They observe and analyze treatment designs and hospitalization processes to maximize patient comfort and enhance safety.
Nurses lead research initiatives to find innovative and impactful practices and help healthcare facilities embrace and incorporate research-driven improvements. Suppose you’re serving as an MSN professional, vying to drive your career towards research and nursing education. In that case, consider balancing an online DNP degree with your full-time nursing profession to build clinical authority and professional prestige.
E-learning platforms affiliated with prestigious and highly accredited nursing institutions have made career advancement considerably achievable for full-time nurses. Balancing a hectic nursing workload with a full-time degree is nothing short of a nightmare. But an online degree program offers immense accessibility and flexibility, offering a realistically achievable roadmap to leadership roles.
Adding a DNP degree to your resume will position you as an authority in your chosen nursing specialization, opening scores of lucrative opportunities. As a DNP researcher, you can investigate any sphere of patient care, clinical practices, and treatment designs you find intriguing. For instance, professionals specializing in gerontology can research practices that maximize comfort for seniors with chronic illnesses. Likewise, cardiac nurses can investigate factors that make patients more self-aware and responsible for adhering to preventive care regimes.
Individualize & Personalize Care Processes
Do you refer to your patients by their names, or do you use the room numbers where patients are hospitalized? Experts strongly advocate against referring patients by room numbers, ward details, or other references. Why is that?
Not using the patient’s name or failing to build personal connections eliminates the human touch from caregiving practices. Nurses can improve patient care quality and treatment outcomes by infusing their practices with the human touch. The idea is to humanize patient care by individualizing and personalizing treatment designs and interactions.
First and foremost, nurses must build familiarity with their patients by learning their names, interests, and preferences. Then, treatments and interactions must reflect patient preferences of comfort, interaction, and pain thresholds. Suppose a patient feels isolated because family members are unable to visit frequently. In that case, nurses must address the patient’s need for company and comfort.
Individualized and personalized care are significant themes of patient-centric models gaining widespread support in today’s post-pandemic world. Nurses must connect with their patients, understand their life stories and struggles, and unravel their perspectives on self-care. This information may seem unnecessary, but it’s crucial to design personalized treatment plans that patients can realistically comply with to heal.
Empowering Patients with Awareness
The ultimate goal of nursing is to empower patients with awareness and drive them towards self-care.
Nurses are a vital link in the healthcare system, striving to reduce the global burden of diseases. Professionals cannot reduce the burden on healthcare systems without empowering patients toward preventive care regimes.
Patients must take responsibility for self-care and prevention to manage their symptoms and eliminate the risk of rehospitalization. How can nurses achieve this goal? The process begins by understanding the patient’s perspectives on health management, physical and mental well-being, and preventive care.
Is the patient likely to maintain a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and a regular exercise regime? Will the patient abstain from unhealthy habits, like smoking, alcohol consumption, processed food, or other vices contributing to risk factors? Most importantly, does the patient have a positive outlook toward disease prevention and management with lifestyle changes?
Nurses must investigate these questions to design an individualized care plan with personalized goals tailored to the patient’s overall attitude. Patients likely to indulge in smoking or alcohol consumption will need a different care plan than patients who prioritize physical fitness. Nurse practitioners deploy multiple tools to raise awareness, such as motivational interviews, lifestyle management plans, open-ended questionnaires, etc.
Extending Care & Compassion
What makes nurses different from other healthcare practitioners, aside from the apparent differences in academic pathways? Nurses set themselves apart from other practitioners by demonstrating emotional intelligence, cultural sensitivity, and compassion. While physicians, specialists, and surgeons maintain objectivity and distance, nurses handle the emotional baggage undermining treatment outcomes.
They understand the emotional and mental challenges of patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses, physical pain, and acute health conditions. And they systematically tackle these challenges with mental health interventions, compassion, and heart-to-heart conversations.
Nurses can improve patient care quality and ensure positive outcomes by delivering compassionate care.
Compassion does more than just alleviate suffering and offer mental relief. It gives patients the courage, will, and determination to combat life-threatening illnesses and come to terms with their diagnoses. Nurses steer their patients away from the pitfalls of denial, helping them take control of their health conditions.
Professionals must understand the fine lines between empathy and sympathy while interacting with patients. Sympathy involves a desire to fix how others feel and deal with difficult emotions. In contrast, empathy involves listening intently and extending a shoulder to cry on to relieve emotional discomfort. Sympathy doesn’t fall within the scope of nursing roles, but empathy defines caregiving practices by infusing treatments with compassion.
It’s natural for dedicated and hard-working nurse practitioners to feel overwhelmed and perpetually exhausted. Nurses deal with profuse occupational stress, which leaves them incapacitated to prioritize quality care standards. It’s crucial to carve out a healthy work-life balance to give your best to each patient entrusted to your care. Higher education and clinical specializations allow nurses to enjoy stability and flexibility and make impactful contributions to healthcare environments.