Nurses are not only the backbone of the healthcare systems of many countries, but they are also the largest professional body in many healthcare systems. They play an important role in providing health care, keeping healthcare systems running, and also sometimes handling the administrative side of healthcare. The only problem is that nurses can go underappreciated, with a lot of people not thinking about thanking their nurse when they get better. Today, we will look at why nurses are so important and why they deserve a lot more appreciation.
Nurses Spend a Lot of Time with Patients
Many of the interactions we have at hospitals and other healthcare institutions are with nurses. Once you have checked in, it is likely that a nurse will attend to you, checkyour vitals, take your history and ask about your health and why you have come to the hospital. A nurse will also be responsible for putting your mind at ease so that treatment can go easier. During this time, they will make small talk to discover underlying health issues so they can ensure that you get the best treatment possible.
After a doctor has seen you, it is likely that a nurse will come back to talk to you about the prescribed medication, how to take care of yourself to avoid further injury or illness and then answer any questions you may have.
If you are admitted, a nurse will come around to ensure you are comfortable and that you are taking the prescribed medications. You will see the doctor occasionally, usually when they are making their rounds, but it is nurses who you will interact with for a majority of your hospital stay if you are admitted.
They Help Patients Deal with Loss
Nurses perform the very important task of helping family members deal with the loss of a loved one. They are often tasked with talking to the family of someone who has passed, especially in cases where the doctor is not available. They have to be able to contain their emotions and help those who have lost a loved one deal with their loss.
Nurses Advocate for Patients
In many cases, patients are unable to advocate for themselves. Nurses have to spend a lot of time with their patients, listening and noting down what their patients need. This gives them a unique insight into what the patients want or need, their health habits, behaviors, and concerns. Once they have this information, they can then turn to advocating for these patients.
Advocating can take many forms. In lots of cases, advocacy is all about ensuring all relevant information is included in a patient’s records. This information can be uncovered through talking to family members and, if it is very important and was excluded, nurses will try to include it.
Advocacy can also mean ensuring the patient’s medication is working, or coordinating care between different healthcare institutions. Remember that some patients might move from one health care facility to another, and nurses have to ensure that they get the care they need wherever they go.
Lastly, nurses can play a critical role in ensuring patients understand the procedures they are about to undergo so they can provide informed consent. Usually, this is done after a doctor has explained the procedure but a nurse can come in again to help with the emotional burden of making decisions about complicated procedures.
They Provide Specialized Services
While there are general nurses who will do everything at a healthcare facility, many nurses are specialized in very specific areas. This specialization allows them to not only work with a specific demographic but it also allows them to provide specialized care to the patients they care for. Nurses who work in the emergency room have vastly different skills than those who work in the operating room, with nurses with specific specializations like neonatal nursing having a diversified skill set from other nurses. The good news is that nurses who want to provide specialized services can enroll in an advanced degree where they can hone their skills to provide these services. For example, nurses who want to provide women-centered care can enroll in a midwifery degree at Baylor University, while those who want to better the communities they work for can enroll in an advanced degree that focuses on public health.
Nurses are Educators
Low health literacy is a problem around the world. Health literacy is a person’s or community’s ability to understand health information and to make informed decisions based on that information. While doctors are highly knowledgeable in a lot of areas, their deep scientific understanding can be a hindrance to explaining complicated concepts to patients in a way that they understand. Although this aspect of doctoring has gotten better in the last few years, we still have a long way to go.
Nurses, on the other hand, make great educators because they are able to break down complex topics and explain them clearly to patients in a way that the patients understand. This can be explaining what different medications do, how to take medications, potential side effects, home care and a lot more. Additionally, nurses are viewed as less intimidating than doctors by a lot of people.
Monitoring Patients’ Health
A lot of what falls into a nurse’s role is on the front line of care. A lot of people forget that nurses do a lot of the backend work too. Most of their backend work entails monitoring the care provided to patients and keeping patient records. Nurses are in the best position to do this because they are the ones who spend a lot of time with patients. Because of this, they often have detailed information about patients that other healthcare workers do not.
Nurses record everything, from patient conditions, their medication,and who came to visit them. They then summarize their records and assessments and update patient records accordingly.
Although the role of nurses has expanded in recent years, they are still involved in many of the activities, tasks, and responsibilities that make them an integral part of our healthcare systems. Nurses should be appreciated a lot more for what they do, both what we can see and what we cannot.
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