The healthcare industry can only progress if it provides excellent patient care, and nurses are often considered the backbone of this sector. But improving patient care is challenging. There are numerous factors that you, as a nurse, need to engage with to ensure you’re able to make a difference. Being a nurse is hard work; if you cannot do your job effectively, the entire healthcare infrastructure will suffer, so what can you do?
You need to chart your patients accurately, ensure they get the proper medication, and monitor their condition as they recover. Missing a step or neglecting to do your work properly can lead to drastic outcomes. According to the NCBI reports[SA1] of 2021, annually, 7,000 to 9,000 Americans die because of medication errors. Therefore, as a nurse, you must honor your role and work on improving the way you care for patients; here’s how:
1. Advance Your Skills
As a nurse, it is crucial you continue working on your skills and expand your knowledge from where you stand currently. The healthcare sector is constantly evolving, and you must stay on top of all these changes. Therefore, if you’re a registered nurse (RN) or have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), work on yourself until you become a nurse practitioner (NP). This is a highly specialized area of nursing that gives you clinical skills and experience that make you exceptionally qualified to provide patient care. In certain states, a nurse practitioner can also practice independently without the supervision of a physician.
To become a nurse practitioner, there are specific skills, knowledge, and experience that you need to master before you can integrate yourself into this role. Checking all the boxes of a nurse practitioner skills list is the only way to ensure quality patient care. Given the complexity of this position, make sure you understand what it takes to be a nurse practitioner and excel in your career by pursuing advanced degrees and courses.
2. Get Better at Communicating with Patients
Communicating with your patients is the best way to reduce medical errors and ensure that their diagnosis is accurate. There are numerous diseases that have similar symptoms, but your attention to detail can help determine what your patient is going through. Hence, spend some time talking to your patients and questioning them about their symptoms and the duration of when they started. Also, ask them about their family history and allow them to share in detail about what they’re feeling.
When your patient is talking to you, don’t interrupt them; instead, listen attentively and follow up the information they provide with questions. Once you have their history recorded, provide them with clear-cut instructions on what they need to do next. If you want them to get some tests, explain what those tests are for and when they should expect results.
Furthermore, as a nurse, you must not discriminate among your patients. For instance, you must never favor anyone based on their race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. Moreover, if your patient doesn’t speak your language or struggles with the national language spoken in your country, get a translator to help you with the conversation.
3. Implement Patient Safety
Hospitals can be hazardous if safety protocols are not established. As a nurse, you need to ensure that you identify potential hazards and propose solutions for them. There are many ways you can do this. For instance, you need to maintain cleanliness and set a standard for disinfection in your hospital. This step is essential because, at a time, hospitals receive patients who are suffering from various kinds of ailments and infections, which can be highly contagious. Pathogens can attach themselves to surfaces and medical tools, ultimately leading to a disease outbreak.
Therefore, as a nurse, strictly instruct the staff on discarding used disposable tools, sterilizing the room more than once, and keeping contaminated instruments away from clean ones. When you’re attending a patient, ensure your hands are washed, your hair is netted, and wear a facemask if needed. Never approach a patient if you haven’t disinfected yourself first.
Similarly, safety standards involve using advanced monitoring equipment to check on the patient, like a bed alarm that can notify you if the patient falls off their bed or needs immediate assistance. When administering medication, double-check that the patient’s information matches the one on the medicine before you give it to them.
4. Educate Patients
Part of looking after your patients is educating them. Take time to instruct your patients on ways they can look after themselves better. This includes telling them how to care for their wounds at home, what diet they should follow, and teaching them techniques for taking their medicines on time. You may also extend your outreach by offering telehealth sessions to patients who can’t come to the hospital and help them manage their health better. But be patient when talking to them; understand that too much information can overwhelm them, so break down the details into digestible chunks. You can ask your patients to repeat everything you have said to them to ensure they understand you clearly. Go the extra mile by connecting them to online resources and information that facilitate their learning and make them proactive about their health Tips.
5. Continue Researching
Being in the healthcare profession means you’re committing to lifelong learning. This means that no matter how qualified you are, there is always room to learn more. It would help to read medical journals, research, and publications as often as possible. Look for topics about patient-focused care and figure out how to apply these standards to your job. Likewise, attend seminars and conferences about patient advocacy to align yourself as a patient-focused nurse further. It would help if you engaged your colleagues in a discussion on how they care for their patients and exchanged details on the methods you use to look after yours. Continued learning and research can help you become a more certified expert.
Patients need quality care and attentiveness to recover swiftly. As a nurse, you play a key role in your patient’s welfare, so you must not neglect your duties. Nursing is a tedious job. But once you understand your responsibility and dedicate yourself to patient care, you can excel at your job. Hence, this includes advancing your education, learning about pitfalls that interfere with patient safety, effective communication, and continuous learning. Once you get into the habit of further polishing and grooming yourself, your patients will thrive under your care.