5 Ways RNs Can Improve Patient Care
By: Melissa Mills, RN, BSN, CCM, MHA, Contributor
Nurses have a unique role in patient care. They focus on helping patients meet their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs.
As frontline bedside staff, nurses spend more time than any other healthcare professional providing direct, hands-on patient care.
Nurses must understand the impact of patient caring and how to achieve the highest levels of patient care and satisfaction.
Your care as a travel nurse can make a positive impact on the hospital, too. In particular, there are five simple ways you can improve patient care in your daily practice.
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5 Ways RNs Can Improve Patient Care
1. Deliver Individualized Patient Care
If you walk down the hall of any nursing unit, you will likely hear nurses refer to the “CHF patient in Room 12” rather than simply calling the patient by their name. This practice takes the human touch out of patient caring opportunities.
Individualizing patient care allows you to provide care tailored to the needs of the patient while meeting them where they are on the journey to better health.
Connecting with your patients through their name and life story allows you to better understand their self-care goals, their barriers to reaching these goals, and their support systems.
2. Empower Towards Self-Care
Many nurses view their job as providing total care. In high acuity nursing units, this may be true. However, on average, empowering patients towards self-care is the goal for nursing units across the country.
Nurses achieve this through the use of open-ended questions, motivational interviewing, and individualized care-planning to create goals specific to the patient.
Once patients are discharged from the unit, you will no longer be there to remind them about their food choices, daily weights, or insulin doses. Nurses must empower patients to be active participants in their self-care choices.
3. Show Compassion
Compassion is an essential characteristic of nurses on a career path to success. It is commonly defined as a deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the desire to relieve it. Nurses should offer compassionate care.
However, one study contends that this definition does not show the full breadth of the compassion nurses need. Nurses are not strangers to witnessing suffering, but compassionate care is not only about relieving suffering.
It is about entering into a patient’s experience and enabling them to retain their independence and dignity while receiving patient care.
4. Advance Your Education
Whether you decide to obtain an advanced nursing degree or take continuing education courses, being a life-long learner will help you improve patient care.
Nurses must remain abreast of the latest research to deliver care that allows evidence-based practices to become common practices. Advancing your education may also provide opportunities in some of the highest paying nurse career options.
5. Offer Empathy
Dr. Brené Brown, a University of Houston researcher and the author of Daring Greatly, amongst other titles, explains the difference between empathy and sympathy.
She says that when we show sympathy, we are attempting to fix the feelings of others. Even as nurses, this is not our job. But, when we work from a place of empathy, we offer a listening, caring ear, which is part of the patient care role of the nurse.
When your patients feel heard, cared about, and understood, they will trust you as their nurse and buy into the care plan you collaboratively create with them. Offering empathy is a great way to improve your patient caring standards.
Nursing can be a difficult job. Patient care can wear on you and your emotions. You must be equipped with ways to offer compassion, empathy, and empowerment to survive even the best days of patient care.