6 Ways Nurses Can Improve Patient Care
Modern medicine and technologicall advancements have transformed several industries worldwide—significantly impacting the healthcare sector. Despite these developments, doctors’ and nurses’ roles remain vital as they work towards ensuring patients receive quality care.
Traditionally, a nurse’s responsibilities were limited to monitoring patients’ vitals, drawing blood for diagnosis, and providing prescribed medicine. But now, nurses can do a lot more than offer bedside care. They advocate for their patients, educate loved ones, support the ill, record medical data, and raise awareness among entire communities and neighborhoods. Additionally, they work in managerial and corporate positions to make large-scale changes across hospitals, clinics, or community centers. And while they have countless other responsibilities, their primary job is to provide patient care with high satisfaction levels. It is a continuous improvement process that requires constant vigilance, progress, and development.
Patient care refers to all the activities and jobs a healthcare worker undertakes to prevent, treat, or manage physical and mental illnesses. Since nurses work closely with patients, they’re uniquely positioned to make the most significant impact and build relationships with those under their care.
If you are a nurse looking to improve your job, try these six ways to enhance patient care and satisfaction.
1. Gain advanced education
Ways to provide patient care are constantly evolving to make it more accessible, affordable, and less invasive. As new information, knowledge, and research come to light, keeping yourself updated and well-informed is essential. Therefore, gaining advanced degree programs such as MSN can benefit both you and your patient. The MSN medical abbreviation is Master of Science in Nursing, and anyone with a valid registered license and the necessary work experience can pursue this degree.
Besides improving patient care, advanced education programs support career growth and allow nurses to progress professionally. They make you more qualified for high-paying jobs, better work hours, and more autonomy in your work practice.
2. Practice effective communication
Few skills are vital when providing patients with the necessary care, support, and treatment. Nurses who actively listen and understand their patients’ problems are in a better position to address these concerns. If your patient doesn’t feel comfortable sharing their concerns and issues, you’re more likely to make the wrong diagnosis and offer incorrect advice.
In some cases, incorrect communication may result in patients misinterpreting your suggestions and failing to follow the right treatment plan. You don’t just need to communicate effectively with your patients. Instead, patient care is a holistic approach that requires a team effort. Therefore, you must share and collaborate with other healthcare workers and talk to families for the best patient outcomes.
3. Work in teams
Medical treatments often require interdisciplinary discussions and recommendations from colleagues and coworkers of other specializations. When multiple healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, enhance communication and work collaboratively, they expand on their traditional roles and make better decisions. Every professional in their field has expertise in their subject, so by working in teams, you can achieve the most excellent treatment plan for your patient.
Teamwork in healthcare has become even more critical in recent years. An aging population, diverse lifestyles, and the prevalence of chronic diseases have made people susceptible to complex and recurring illnesses. When you work with other healthcare providers, you help break down the long-standing medical hierarchy and offer centralized power to entire organizations.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of working in teams is that you’re less likely to burn out when you share work burdens with your colleagues. As a result, you’ll make fewer mistakes and ensure patient safety.
4. Proper record maintenance
Proper medical record maintenance is essential to provide patients with a quality standard of care. Whether you enter data manually or digitally, you must ensure it is constantly updated and contains accurate information regarding the patient’s health, treatment, prognosis, etc. While everyone on a medical team has access to these records, it’s up to the nurses to maintain them. Since they work closely with the patient, they’re in the best position to receive all relevant information.
In a medical setting, no information is irrelevant or insignificant. The more detailed and accurate your clinical notes are, the better chances your patient will have of receiving proper care. Doctors and surgeons will refer to these records when developing a treatment plan, so you must ensure their constant upkeep.
5. Become people-oriented
Nurses must be extra careful not to take a task-oriented approach when doing their job. Treating your patient like “work” will only focus on completing your pending tasks. While this may get the job done, it won’t truly satisfy your patient. Instead, becoming people-oriented, compassionate, and empathetic towards those you treat is better. You can do this by ensuring your questions don’t come off as clinical and by putting in the effort to actively listen to what your patient is saying. Ask follow-up questions, so the patient feels heard instead of listing down a few standard questions you have on your list.
Remember, working in the healthcare industry means you want to help people and positively impact their lives. And so, it’s important not to lose sight of this and get so involved in your job that you miss the reason for getting in this field in the first place.
6. Support their mental well-being
Research shows that physical trauma or developing chronic illnesses often triggers anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. However, most healthcare workers only focus on treating the physical symptoms and don’t pay much attention to a patient’s mental well-being. But improving patient care means you must focus on all aspects of a patient’s health. For this, you can collaborate with mental health professionals and recruit them to your team so they can assess and consult with your patient. By providing counseling sessions or tools that can help them overcome mental health concerns, you can better equip them to make faster recoveries.
All in all, your patient must understand that they’re your top priority. If you don’t address all their issues, they won’t receive the support they need and, therefore, won’t be able to get better.
Improving patient care is a continuous, dynamic, and long-term process that must be a top priority for all healthcare personnel. As a nurse, you can make the most significant impact as you work closely with patients and can advocate for their care best of all. To prevent burnout and ensure your job isn’t compromised, follow these strategies above and enhance quality in every facet of patient care.