4 Tips for Nurses Determined to Improve Patient Care
Despite its challenges, nursing is one of the most fulfilling professions you can choose for yourself. Some days will bring smiles, while your patience will hang by a thread on others. Some shifts might feel longer, and unexpected duties can drain away your already dwindling energy. However, everything will be worth the effort in the end, as the satisfaction of helping others is unmatched.
Nurses deeply impact patients’ physical and mental well-being as they cater to their every need, from basic to life-saving ones. Due to the changing global scenario and the onset of novel diseases, the concept of patient care and, hence, the role of nurses is expanding tremendously. If you are eager to accommodate and give your patients the best, here are some tips to help you out.
1. Adopt Continuous Learning:
The healthcare system is dynamic, and no matter how long you have served as a nurse, the field has likely changed since you first stepped into this role. Whether it is the technological revolution that has transformed patient care or policy reforms that continue to add new layers of responsibilities, the healthcare system is ever-evolving. To keep up with these latest emerging trends, you should never cease your learning process.
While your work experience will polish your skills and upgrade your knowledge, pursuing higher education can also give you a significant headstart. If you struggle to find time for a higher degree alongside your work, you can consider the option of online programs for continuing your education. For instance, if you have the degree of Master of Science in Nursing, you can go for an MSN to DNP online program and have a deeper understanding of patient care, policy reforms, and research methods. Apart from formal education, you can also attend nursing conferences, read research journals, and learn by taking guidance from the seniors in your field.
To be a successful nursing professional and enhance patient outcomes, you must stay up-to-date with the latest developments and adopt new techniques for enhanced patient care. So instead of taking it as a burden, be excited about the prospect of something new and incorporate it for the betterment of the healthcare system. Failing to do so will not only be a setback for your career but can also jeopardize your patients.
2. Provide Individualized Patient Care:
As a nurse, your professional credibility often depends upon your patient’s recovery from sickness, which is reasonable since people seek medical treatment to get well. However, on the other side of the coin, the patients should be active participants in the treatment plan rather than a passive part to achieve favorable outcomes. The path to recovery is a two-way street, which involves an understanding and partnership between the patients and their healthcare professionals, an approach also known as Individualized Patient Care (IPC).
IPC is a patient-centered approach where you consider your patient’s preferences. Connecting with your patients will lessen their anxiety, building a psychological impact that will help them immensely in their recovery process. Try to get answers to the questions: What are the concerns of patients and their families? What mostly worries the patient? What are the expectations of patients and their families from the treatment? During your interactions with the patients, you can assess if your priorities contradict those of your patients. Customizing your care without compromising the health outcomes will help you empathize with your patient and understand their health journey.
3. Strengthen Your Communication and Interpersonal Skills:
Does the prospect of interacting with new people make you nervous? Or do you find it difficult to decode complex medical situations into simple terms? If yes, now is the time to strengthen your communication skills for enhanced patient care and to be a good listener and speaker for your patients.
Being a frontline health worker, you will need strong verbal and written communication skills for all aspects of your job. Whether you are reporting to a physician, elaborating the situation to your patients, fostering relationships with colleagues, or navigating through emergencies, you need effective communication skills at every step. They are also crucial to develop leadership qualities and cross-cultural competencies for interacting with patients of diverse backgrounds.
Working in a hospital, you will interact with people from all walks of life who may also speak different languages. If your communication skills do not meet the standards, you will be unable to address their concerns and might use complex medical terminologies many do not understand.
4. Prevent Job Burnout:
As a nurse who spends most of the time in a hospital, you can attest to the fact that it can be a place of chaos. Patients arrive for various reasons, from needing an outpatient procedure to requiring critical care following an accident. Tracking their needs and monitoring every moment is challenging and can often lead to burnout. You might also have to look after multiple patients at once, monitoring their vitals and giving them medications. It can all sometimes jumble up and become confusing and stressful for you. It will not only damage your physical and mental health but can lead to indifference toward the patients, directly affecting their care and safety.
Experiencing job burnout can make you lose your motivation to work, increasing patient safety incidents, such as medication errors, wrong patient identification, and injuries due to improper syringe use. Practice self-care to avoid these errors and dampen the effects of chronic work stress. Consuming a nutritious diet, daily exercise, work-life balance, and a good night’s sleep can help you wear off exhaustion. Your empathetic nature might tempt you to lend a helping hand to everyone, but learn to put a full stop where necessary.
Physical illnesses are an unceasing ordeal for humans, and the ones working tirelessly to dull the pain are indeed engaged in a noble task. In terms of nobility, the nursing profession falls under the same umbrella. So to do justice to the responsibility this occupation endows upon you, determination to optimize patient care is mandatory. Your dedication to fasten the recovery process will help you and your patients view the situation with renewed hope. So while dealing with daily challenges, do not forget to enjoy and celebrate the little progress your patients make and appreciate yourself for letting that happen.