1 Dec 2020

At the Bedside and Beyond: Why Nurses Are Important for the Healthcare System

Post by Jordan Toplen

It is not a stretch to say that nurses are a critical part of our healthcare system. Nurses do a lot more than people think because they are also involved in advocating for better health care for their patients, teaching young nurses, as well as moving healthcare forward through their advocacy for and use of the latest technological and innovative practices. These are just some of the reasons why nurses are critical to our healthcare system, and below we will take a deeper look at them.

Advocating for Patients

Besides monitoring patients and administering medications, nurses also play the role of patient advocates. While doctors might see patients once or twice a day, nurses spend their whole shifts with their patients. This places them in a unique position to listen to and understand their patients and their needs. Because they have an insight into what their patients want or need, they become strong advocates for their patients to other members of the team.

Coordinating Patient Care

Nurses, especially family nurse practitioners, provide lots of different services to their patients, with everything they do centered around these patients. Because of this, family nurse practitioners coordinate many aspects of patients’ care, including understanding any concerns patients may have during assessments, finding out the underlying reasons for different health conditions, providing advice and information during treatment, as well as connecting patients who need help after their treatment to relevant services and professionals. Coordinating patient care is just one of the ways nurses promote quality patient care and ensure better outcomes – click here to find out the other ways they do this.

Improving Patient Outcomes

On average, we are living for much longer than we used to a few decades ago. Also, medical conditions are getting more complex while medical policies and techniques keep improving. All of these things need qualified nurses to ensure the healthcare system continues seeing the positive outcomes it has seen over the past few decades.

Hospitals that have qualified nurses are not only able to meet the challenges outlined above, but they are also able to reduce mortality rates, hospital stay length, and reduce healthcare costs. All of these things combined make for better patient outcomes and a healthier nation overall.

Preparing New Nurses for the Workforce

As the field of nursing continues to expand, there will be an increased demand for highly educated nurses. All these nurses need to be introduced to the nursing landscape and there is no one better to do this than practicing nurses. These nurses make up a group of educators and recruiters who can identify promising candidates as well as push new nurses to keep moving their careers forward by filling any vacancies that open up.

Nurse educators also teach new nurses through lectures, clinical work, and lectures to prepare them to provide the best patient care possible. Besides this, they also act as advisors and mentors who guide new nurses on career paths that help them achieve their goals.

Nurse recruiters are also tasked with filling new job posts by reviewing applications, interviewing candidates who show great potential, and negotiating salaries on behalf of the nurses they are trying to place. In a way, these nurse recruiters ensure that there is no shortage of nurses wherever they are needed and new nurses are available to fill those positions.

Patient and Caregiver Education

Preparing treatment plans, administering medications, and taking care of patients are not the only things nurses do in a hospital setting. Nurses also have the very important job of educating patients and their caregivers.

Some important areas nurses focus on include teaching patients how to make better, healthier life choices, helping them understand their diagnosis, medication, and prescription, as well as showing them how to manage any symptoms that may reoccur. They also pass on important information during discharge so that patients understand how to take care of themselves and keep up with their medication when they get home.

Keeping Communities Healthy

Nurses do a lot of work beyond the bedside and outside the hospitals they work for. Specifically, they help keep communities healthy by promoting healthy living before patients have to visit the hospital. When doing this, nurses can take on various responsibilities including holding one-on-one discussions with community members, holding medical camps as well as carrying out targeted campaigns that focus on single or multiple issues of interest to the community.

Holistic healthcare, the focus on overall holistic health, is another area that nurses focus on. When promoting a holistic health culture, nurses may pass around health resources (brochures, apps, and website links) or coordinating and running events focused on certain health topics. These can include eating healthier, going for screenings, blood drives, immunizations, and a lot more.

Nurses Can Step in for Primary Care Physicians

In more than 20 states in the United States, nurses can step in for primary care physicians. This is especially so in areas or facilities that do not have enough physicians to cater to everybody. Nurse practitioners can do medical tests and interpret their findings, come up with treatment plans, and, where applicable, prescribe medication.

By doing this, nurse practitioners help ensure the healthcare systems in some rural and neglected places continue to have adequate services.

Advocacy for the Use of Technology in Innovating and Changing Patient Care

Nurses are always at the forefront of using the latest technology to provide better care to their patients. From advocating for improved sanitary conditions to helping perfect sample collection, nurses have done it all.

Nowadays, it is common to find nurses working on technology to innovate patient care. Some nurses, for example, work with technology companies to help them understand hospital settings so they can create better products, systems, and protocols.

It is relatively easy to see why nurses are so important to our healthcare system. They play so many different roles and are at the forefront of advocating for better healthcare for their patients as well as helping with technological innovations in their fields.

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