It’s easy to think that all the responsibility for providing top-notch patient care rests on the shoulders of doctors and other health professionals. After all, they treat patients and dispense medication and advice, but nurses also play an essential role in keeping patients healthy and happy.
In many ways, nurses can improve the quality of patient care more than any other staff member, so here are some tips from nursing pros on how to make your work life more effective, positive, and stress-free by becoming the best nurse you can be.
1. Continuously improve
Nurses must take continuing education courses to stay up-to-date with the latest healthcare developments and treatments. Education can be obtained by attending lectures, going online, or reading up on the latest research.
Continuing education is essential because it ensures nurses are aware of and can incorporate evidence-based healthcare practices into their work. Well, we recommend you take to get an MSN degree. But what is the worth of a nursing master’s degree?
Obtaining one can open numerous avenues and have significant advantages. Therefore, you should consider the benefits of getting an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) if you have already secured a bachelor’s degree.
The following are some advantages of earning an MSN programs online degree.
Career Advancement– You can advance your nursing career and have a more fulfilling job experience by earning an MSN degree.
More Responsibility– You can take more responsibility as a nurse if you have higher education.
Better Schedule– Long shifts and the requirement to be accessible on nights, weekends, and holidays are frequent requirements for working as a nurse. You can accept a senior-level career with more conventional work hours after you get your MSN online.
2. Assessing patients’ needs
Sitting down with patients and asking about their needs is a great way to help them feel supported and cared for. It also allows you to assess whether they have any pre-existing conditions or other concerns that might interfere with care.
For example, if they don’t want to talk, it may be because they’re embarrassed or in pain; these are valid reasons, but if you don’t find out what’s going on, you can’t provide the best possible care.
In addition, without this vital knowledge, your work will become more complicated than it needs to be! For example, someone who has trouble swallowing won’t do well if you try feeding them a liquid diet without figuring out why they can’t eat solid food.
Another option is to speak directly with the patient’s loved ones when something isn’t right. They’ll often know something you need to know to provide better care.
3. Providing patients with information
One way to improve care quality is to provide patients with information. It can be done through discharge instructions, pain management, or medication management. Providing a patient with information reduces the chance of them returning for a second or third visit regarding that issue because they have been able to self-manage their condition.
It also helps them prevent complications if they are discharged from the hospital without instructions on what to do when they get home. Lastly, it allows them to feel more empowered about their health instead of feeling helpless about what’s going on with their body.
If they have any questions or concerns, this communication will allow them to voice them. In turn, this will help ensure the best care possible for their patients.
4. Use evidence-based practice
Nurses can improve care quality by following evidence-based practice. An example of this is the use of pain management. There are three main types:
- Non-opioid medications
- Combined therapy (both 1 and 2)
Evidence suggests that each type has different risks, benefits, and side effects. The most common type used in nursing is non-opioid medication. It should be taken for at least four hours after a procedure to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Non-opioids work best for people with mild to moderate acute pain and can be taken as needed every four to six hours. It’s essential not to take too much because it could lead to withdrawal symptoms or overdose.
The other two options carry more risk but also more benefit when they’re used correctly. Nurses can improve care quality by assessing patient preferences to know what treatment will work best for them.
5. Provide emotional support
Nurses can improve care quality by providing emotional support to patients. Providing emotional support is integral to the job and helps establish strong relationships with patients. Nurses validate their patients’ feelings and emotions when they provide emotional support.
It builds trust between the patient and nurse, improving care quality. Nurses should encourage patients to talk about how they’re feeling and what their needs are.
Emotional stressors like financial difficulties or managing illness in family members have been shown to contribute significantly to healthcare errors in a hospital setting. Nurses can help patients stay emotionally healthy while undergoing treatment by encouraging them to practice self-care measures such as meditation, relaxation techniques, exercise, or socializing with friends and family members.
6. Promote a safe environment
Nurses can improve care quality by ensuring their patients have a safe environment. They can do this in many ways, including:
- Testing the room’s temperature and humidity before entering to ensure it is not too hot or humid.
- Keeping pets out of the room when a patient has an allergy.
- Ensuring that nurses wash their hands before and after entering the room.
- Putting on a mask before entering the patient’s room if they are sick or have been exposed to something infectious like SARS, tuberculosis, etc.
- Make sure that people stay off cell phones while walking around hospitals so they don’t accidentally bump into someone else and spread germs onto them.
Every nurse has the responsibility to create a culture of safety in the workplace. It encourages colleagues to speak up when they see something that doesn’t seem right, such as an unsafe medication dosage or a patient who another nurse is not appropriately monitoring within their eyesight at all times.
Nurses play an essential role in the healthcare system by helping doctors, and other medical professionals provide appropriate patient care. Nurses are the second-largest healthcare workers in the United States, representing 14% of the healthcare workforce, with just under 4.2 million nurses employed nationwide. According to BLS, registered nurse employment will increase by 6% between 2021 and 2031, which is approximately average for all occupations.
Nurses serve as essential members of patient care teams, but there are some steps that nurses can take individually to improve the quality of patient care they provide.
Write down observations. Take the time to listen to patients and their families. Ask open-ended questions to understand a patient’s needs better. Communicate with other nurses, family members, and doctors about a patient’s care.
Monitor for any changes in condition or behavior that can help identify what is causing symptoms. Stay current on professional nursing standards, treatments, and medications through continuing education courses and journal articles to have up-to-date knowledge of best practices in your field.
Finally, follow policies and procedures for safe and efficient care.