The work that nurses do is unique. There are no other healthcare professionals who need to help their patients on as many levels as a nurse does. This includes not just physical care but emotional support, mental health work, social needs, and even spiritual care in some cases. This is why nurses are such a crucial element in patient care; they have to be all things to all people, and they need to be focused and accurate at the same time. This is clearly not an easy thing to do, and it’s why nursing is not something everyone can handle.
If you are a nurse, or you’re intending to become one, one of your main priorities has to be the patient. After all, these people are sick and injured, and they are relying on you to help them as much as possible.
How can a nurse help their patients in the best way? There are a number of things every nurse does, no matter what level they are working at or what area of nursing they are working in. Read on to find out what these things are so that you can give your patients the very best care possible.
Individual Patient Care
You might assume that every nurse already offers individual patient care; that’s their job, after all. However, although this would be a wonderful thing if it were to happen, it’s not always the case. So if you want to offer your patients the best care possible and be a great nurse, you’ll need to make sure you think of them as individuals rather than as their illnesses or injuries.
It’s easy to forget that patients are all different people with different thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to forget this because nurses are such busy workers, and every shift will be filled with potentially dozens of patients to take care of, depending on which area of nursing you are in. So, of course, it will be easier to focus on the condition you are treating or the patients’ needs rather than each patient as their own individual person.
If you can think of everyone separately, however, this will make a big difference and help you to offer a more personal kind of healthcare. Knowing their names is the first big step, but if you can talk to each patient, even if it’s only for a short while, you can find out little facts about them that you can then use in conversation later, showing that you listened. Why is this important? The more heard a patient feels, the better their healing will often be, as they can relax knowing they are in good hands.
Empower Towards Self-Care
A nurse’s job might technically be done when they say goodbye (or not, depending on how busy things are) to a patient, and that patient goes home. However, just because the patient has left the hospital or clinic, that doesn’t mean they are entirely well, which is why one of the best ways for nurses to take care of their patients is to empower them towards self-care.
The more a patient can do for themselves to stay healthy and fit after they leave the hospital, the less chance there is of their condition returning or of their healing to take a longer time than necessary. Not only that, but living a healthy lifestyle is important anyway, even if you haven’t had a hospital stay, so this is a habit that can be useful for the patient’s entire life.
As a nurse, you can help your patient understand self-care. You can teach them about a healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and perhaps even speaking to a therapist if things are difficult. When a nurse can provide complete care, which includes helping a patient understand what they can do for themselves and what changes they can make in their lives, they will be helping those patients in the best possible way.
Advance Your Education
If you’re looking for good ways for a nurse to help their patients, education has to be key. If you can enhance and advance your education, either by taking an accelerated BSN program online, or by studying at home with books and videos, or by taking more notice of what is going on around you, you will be armed with all the knowledge you need to be an excellent nurse and offer superb care to every patient you need to.
Not only this, but if you continue to learn, you will be able to offer your patients the most up-to-date information and speak to other medical professionals about potential treatment plans. All in all, the more you know, the better you can help your patients through the actual knowledge you’ll possess and through having more confidence in your own abilities because you know you’re learning as much as possible at all times.
Compassion is another massively important part of being a nurse and of ensuring that patients get the best possible care while you are looking after them. Compassion essentially means that not only do you empathize with that person – in other words, you understand what they are going through – but you also want to do something about their suffering. You want to make their lives better. If you can be as compassionate as possible, you will make the patient feel much better, and you’ll be actively doing something about it, so they are sure to get the best treatment you can give as a nurse.
Compassion is not always easy. Or rather, being compassionate is an easy thing, but knowing how to help and not just wanting to help is much more of a challenge. This is why it’s down to nurses to offer this kind of compassion. Friends and family members of the patient may well be able to feel empathy, and they may well want to help as much as they can, but they won’t have the knowledge and training for that to happen. Nurses are therefore crucial in compassionate patient care.