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5 ways nurses can improve patient care

The role of nurses is important in every healthcare setting. When you go to a hospital or a private clinic, you interact with a nurse before meeting your required doctors. So, they are critical to the healthcare services you receive and your ultimate satisfaction with the healthcare services. 

Not all patients visiting a hospital have a family who can look after them. In this situation, the responsibility of a nurse goes beyond administering medications. The nurse is expected to provide emotional support to patients, help them with mobility, and ensure their medical needs are met. So, often taking care of a patient is a multi-dimensional process. 

As nurses are at the center of the care quality of a healthcare facility, what nurses can do to improve patient care is an actual concern. If you are a nurse facing this dilemma, here is what you can do. 

Without further ado, let us get straight to the topic.

  • Improving the skill set

The nursing field is broad; when in this profession, you are not engaged with patient care only. 

As a nurse, you might be involved with the administrative side of patient care, communicating with the doctors and patients’ families. So, one way to improve patient care is by improving your skill set, including communication skills, advocacy skills, etc. This is why various nursing teaching strategies in nursing schools focus on improving your skills. 

For a better patient care experience, you must be skilled in the following aspects. 

  • Communication skills

Improving your communication skills is essential for performing your job par excellence. Nurses often work in teams. They have to communicate their patient’s conditions with the doctors, patients’ families, and other team members. 

Any discrepancy in communicating your patient’s condition or a lag in communicating their condition can result in costly damages to patients. 

  • Advocacy skills

Advocacy skills are a part of communication skills, but their importance requires a separate mention. Nurses often work as strong advocates for better patient care in healthcare institutions. 

Often they rally support for system or policy changes, all focused on improving patient care.

  • Be respectful

Nurses’ job is very hectic, but in no way does it imply that they can lose control or be disrespectful towards their patients. 

They have to be careful about the self-respect of their patients. They cannot be desensitized toward their feelings at a time when patients already deal with the trauma and uncertainty of their disease. So, be respectful and avoid a petulant attitude toward your patients even when under pressure. 

Remember that you are not the one facing the diseases. 

  • Empathy and compassion

As a nurse, you must be empathetic and compassionate towards your patients. Often you have to provide emotional support to your patients. 

Excellent patient care involves a bit of psychology too. You must pick up cues to see when and how much emotional support and empathy your patient requires. 

You also need to recognize the difference in the needs of your patients and work accordingly. Research shows that empathetic nurses receive better patient outcomes. 

  • Continuing education 

Another way to improve patient care is by continuing your education and knowing about the latest patient care techniques. 

Healthcare is changing every day. New treatments, technologies, and medications are introduced that are more effective. But at the same time, properly administering them requires more skills. 

Continuing your education exposes you to your field’s latest research and skills. Applying them to your patient care practices can surely improve your performance. 

Research shows that using evidence-based practices in your nursing practice improves patient outcomes. You can continue your schooling by enrolling in an advanced nursing program and attending conferences, seminars, or virtual lectures. 

  • Sitting with your patients

The other essential way to improve patient care is by spending time with your patients and listening to their queries. 

Spending time with your patients communicates your intention to care for them and your interest in their health. This seemingly small act improves your relationship with your patients and enhances their trust in your services. 

The Patient Experience Journal argues that sitting with patients for some time during each shift improves patients’ overall satisfaction level.

  • Connect with the patient’s family 

Patients’ families can significantly help if you want to deliver excellent patient care services. Families can communicate their patient’s medical history—how it started and its progression over the years. 

You can also get an idea of the family structure and dynamics. Often these factors are neglected when gauging the medical history of the patient. But in fact, these issues can explain your patient’s condition more effectively. 

Developing a collaborative care plan where the family and the caregivers work together to improve the patient’s condition is a good approach to follow. 

With a collaborative patient care arrangement, you can deliver more patient-centered care. Therefore, you must listen to, share information, promote compliance, and facilitate choice by working with the patient’s families.

  • Encourage your patients for self-care

A nurse’s job does not end with providing care in the hospital. They have educational roles too. A solid pillar to improving patient care is empowering your patients to take care of themselves. 

You have to educate them about ways of staying healthy and preventing disease. You have to ensure that once your patient leaves the hospital premises, their future visits to the hospital must reduce considerably. And they must be able to take responsibility for their health and body. 

Conclusion

Improving patient care is the desire of every nurse working in a care facility. But often, they are not sure how to be more effective. 

Caring for your patient is multi-faceted; it certainly does not end with administering the medication on time. Providing emotional support, spending time with your patients, and listening to their stories make up a large part of it. 

Effective patient care also entails communicating with the family and knowing more about the family dynamics that might augment or, in some cases, help with the recovery.

Read more interesting articles at Health Surgeon

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