With the advancement of healthcare and medicine, the roles of nurses have expanded to cover a wide area of responsibilities. Nurses are required to do more than just reassure patients and look after them. They are now meant to take up the role of healthcare professionals. It means they need to be even more dedicated regarding their educational degree to ensure they can provide the ultimate care to their patients, which ensures a greater contribution to healthcare improvement.
Several states in the USA have various diseases taking a toll on healthcare and contributing to the increasing death rate. For instance, states like Kentucky are battling heart disease as the top cause of death. Cancers and chronic respiratory diseases also set up the precedent for intensive care. These areas require well-qualified, dedicated nurses to fulfill their duty to the best of their abilities and make the patients feel comfortable and provide adequate care.
Here are some examples of how nurses play a key role in improving healthcare.
- Providing Medical Care To Patients
The core responsibility of a nurse is to cater to their patient’s health through the prevention and cure of various illnesses and injuries. Doctors handle the major details regarding surgeries and diagnosing the patient. However, nurses are required to monitor minor and equally essential details. These include conducting medical examinations, performing tests advised by the doctor, administering medication according to their current health, and keeping track of their overall progress.
A massive proportion of this work is highly technical, and you can only excel as a nurse if you have the required qualification. Therefore, nurses need to acquire higher degrees to provide better healthcare. You can consider an online nurse program if you cannot enroll physically due to geographical boundaries or other obligations. Various universities in the USA, including NKU, offer great online programs that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees alongside doctoral and certificate programs.
- Acting As Patient Advocates
Diseases and injuries can take a massive toll on patients and their families. When the situation is critical in nature, families are often inconsolable and require patience and kindness. Doctors may be able to provide words of comfort, but nurses stick around and help them process their complex emotions. They ensure that the treatment only progresses once patients provide formal consent and update the family regarding their loved one’s health.
Patients are terrified enough as it is and often cannot see a ray of hope without adequate compassion; nurses improve healthcare by providing holistic care regarding their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Even the small talk they have can distract patients from their current condition and help them feel more at ease. It also helps the patient progress with the treatment without resistance.
As patients do not always divulge the entire account of their former medical history, chatting with the nurse comforts them and they feel at ease about opening up regarding the medical details. These details, thought to be private or secretive by the patients, can assist in making an accurate diagnosis and providing the right treatment. Also, patients tend to feel less alone when nurses stay overnight to keep track of their health.
- Educating The Patients
Medical terminology is often complex. However, patients need to understand the diagnosis, the disease’s extent, and the treatment they will undergo. They must understand what the treatment will entail, their chances of recovery, and what potential side effects they might encounter.
It is a nurse’s job to educate them regarding all such vital details and to relay them in a simple manner that can help them be on par. Once they have substantial knowledge about the entire treatment, they are likelier to feel reassured and may be more cooperative. It also helps them make informed decisions related to their health.
Patients cannot stay in the hospital forever. They are discharged from the hospital after a certain point and must continue their treatment at home. Nurses inform them of medications, dosages, and timings so their health can improve. They also advise them to follow healthy habits, including a specific diet and maintaining a physically active routine. Without the nurse’s assistance in such matters, patients and their families may get confused and be unable to administer their health properly.
- Providing Immediate Attention
Sometimes doctors are preoccupied with handling another case or not present at all. The patient may require immediate attention, or their condition could turn critical. In such cases, the nurses have greater autonomy in taking over and making immediate decisions regarding the treatment.
They can proceed in such situations to stabilize the patient’s condition until a plan for further treatment is mapped out. They can also consult the doctor over the phone, but by not being present, a doctor can only do so much. This is why a nurse should be able to think critically, analyze all options, and opt for the best course of action to save the patient. It can be a saving grace in life or death situations and contribute positively toward healthcare.
- Monitoring The Progress
It is impossible for doctors to be available to one patient throughout the day and provide undivided attention. However, someone needs to be around to monitor their health and ensure the patients are stable. A nurse is there to take their vitals and check their blood pressure throughout the patient’s stay at the hospital. They also monitor whether the treatment worsens or improves their condition.
Nurses are also charged with identifying the other medications the patient might be taking to prevent incidents regarding an unfavorable combination of medications. They have to update the charts that contain the patient’s medical history so the doctor can provide the right treatment. It also helps the hospital with the billing process as there is a concrete track of the various tests, medicines purchased, and treatments that the patient must pay for.
Doctors are always viewed with more admiration, but most people do not realize that nurses have greatly improved healthcare throughout the ages. With time, they have acquired greater autonomy and now reside under a broader umbrella of responsibilities. It helps them care for the patient’s medical needs, such as prepping patients for tests, administering medicines, and taking their vitals. They are also charged with monitoring the patient’s health to ensure it does not deteriorate.
However, due to the holistic nature of their role, they also contribute significantly to the patient’s mental well-being. Comforting them with a conversation, educating them regarding the diagnosis and treatment, and reassuring the family are some of the many responsibilities that make their job wholesome. In a nutshell, all these responsibilities make up the role of nurses in improving healthcare.