With numerous evolving challenges in the healthcare sector, the role of nurses has gained more significance in delivering quality patient care, ensuring patient satisfaction, and, most importantly, recovery from illnesses. Nurses today are acknowledged for their transformative roles in patients’ lives and providing a full continuum of care to help ease pain caused by chronic diseases.
As the frontline bedside staff, nurses are responsible for delivering direct, firsthand patient care. And to ease the journey to recovery, nurses need to meet the patients’ physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs. Although nurses have a laundry list of responsibilities to fulfill throughout the day, they are still expected to perform above and beyond set standards to ensure that every patient receives undivided attention and care. Hence, as a nurse practitioner, you can give your patient a new lease on life by adhering to some best practices related to the profession. These include:
The first and foremost thing you need to do to provide improved patient care is expanding the depth of your clinical knowledge. You need to be well-equipped with advanced clinical knowledge and evidence-based practices to provide patients with the best possible care. Therefore, consider honing your skills by acquiring further education. If you intend to become a healthcare leader capable of providing specialized care, consider enrolling in a doctoral program. A terminal degree in nursing will enable you to polish your medical, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Such programs allow you to advance your career in nurse leadership, education, and even research. And by completing such programs, you’ll be able to improve the overall care delivery process for patients leading to better outcomes.
Individualized patient care involves taking into account the preferences and priorities of patients as they embark on treatment. Nurses need to make the patients feel valued as a person, not just as a patient. Personalizing the treatment helps in providing care tailored to the needs of patients. With this approach, you can dig into patients’ worries, apart from the illnesses they are fighting. You can start this practice with a simple tip like calling the patients by their names instead of referring to them as “patient in bed 2,” etc. This will allow you to connect with them, understand their self-care goals, and help navigate the barriers in reaching these goals.
One of the most crucial factors you should consider while taking care of patients is providing emotional support. Compassion and empathy help build a bond of trust between patients and nurses, which goes a long way in the patient’s journey to better health. Familiarizing yourself with your patient’s state of mind can help you calm them, ease their pain, and shrug off their doubts about the treatment. Excellent patient care entails a little knowledge of psychology. Pick up cues to determine which patient is comfortable with various types of support. Make your patients feel that they are not alone, that you will accompany them through their struggles, and offer a listening ear when they need it. When your patients feel heard, understood, and cared for, they will commit to the treatment plan the doctor devises for them.
Patients in healthcare units become dependent on nurses for their emotional, medical, and spiritual needs. Nurses in high acuity units may deliver total care to the patients. However, as a nurse, you must empower and encourage patients to shift towards self-care. You need to outline the self-care goals of patients through open-ended questions and individualized patient care. Encouraging active participation in their self-care and treatment plan will enable the patients to keep disease symptoms at bay. Since you can’t accompany them on the road to recovery forever, you must ensure that your patients follow their diet plans, routine check-ups and stay healthy through their empowerment.
Patients are always vulnerable to psychological disorders like depression and anxiety. Not only chronic illnesses but the hospital environment may also trigger depressive symptoms. Patients may feel stressed and find it hard to adapt to the new reality and cope with the treatment. As the frontline bedside staff, you spend more time with the patients than any other staff member. Hence, you must stay alert and notice the warning signs of declining mental health in your patient. Before stress causes further degradation, nip it in the bud through professional aid. It would be best to incorporate visits to a psychologist in the treatment plan of patients with chronic illnesses to prevent mental health problems from going out of hand.
Patient education is an integral part of a nurse’s guide for improved patient care. Educating patients about their illnesses and weighing the pros and cons of medicines, surgeries, and other medical procedures helps them decide their treatment plans. As the primary care provider, you need to educate your patient well about their illness, medical practices, treatment options, etc., to manage their chronic disease by themselves even after discharge and avoid unnecessary visits to jam-packed hospitals. Effective communication is the key to patient education. Therefore, work on enhancing this skill.
One barrier to providing improved patient care is the loudness of hospitals. Hospitals are busy places with patients swarming in and out, various machinery noises polluting the environment, etc. According to a study, noise levels in surgical wards are well above the level recommended by WHO. Such auditory disturbances disrupt the patient’s ability to rest well and recover quickly. As a nurse, you can suggest higher authorities to install sound masking systems in treatment areas and patient rooms. You can also resort to low-tech solutions like providing earplugs to patients if the hospital is running low on budget.
Nurses are the linchpin components of the healthcare industry and primary care providers to patients. Nurses provide a full continuum of care to the patients to help boost the recovery process and increasing patient satisfaction and experience. This article mentions a few helpful tips for nurses to achieve the highest patient care and satisfaction levels. Nursing can be a challenging job as patient care can wear on you and your emotions. So, whenever you feel like you are going off the track to providing effective patient care, read up on the tips mentioned above to get back on track.