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10 ways nurses can improve patient care

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Doctors may be the ones who diagnose and operate on patients, but the professionals who spend the most time caring for the patients are the nurses.

This is a huge responsibility that is as equally important as performing surgery. Therefore, the best nurses are always dedicated to improving patient care as much as possible. 

Patient care is so much more than administering medication and making patients feel comfortable.

It’s about being empathetic, dedicated, skilled and professional.

In this article, we’ll provide you with the different ways nurses can improve their patient care in order to change healthcare for the better. 

1. Put your patients first

When your aim is to improve patient care, your first priority should be your patient, of course.

Being patient-centred requires you to adopt a holistic approach.

You’ll need to consider their personal and cultural values, as well as their comfort and emotional health, as much as you consider their medical needs.

This allows you to create more personalised plans when treating and caring for patients. 

2. Be an active listener

Being an active listener allows you to go beyond what your patient is saying and understand their concerns and emotions.

Your mind may sometimes be reeling with the lists of everything else you need to do, but remember that patients are people, and you need to be fully present when interacting with them. 

When your patients are speaking, focus on what they’re saying, maintain eye contact, maybe summarise what they’ve said occasionally, and nod to show you’re listening.

Active listening is key to ensuring you’ve gathered all the information correctly, but it also makes your patients feel understood and valued. 

3. Promote inclusivity and equality 

Everyone deserves the right to proper healthcare, so there is no room for inequality and discrimination in the medical field.

Unfortunately, discrimination appears in many different ways, but it is essential not to victimise people on the basis of their age, sex, weight, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or other factors.

This could lead to inaccurate diagnoses based on implicit bias. 

Fighting against discrimination is fundamental to providing better patient care as it makes respect and empathy a priority.

Sometimes, this requires you to speak out against any patient inequality you’ve witnessed to help the healthcare system improve and create environments that are more inclusive. 

4. Empower patients 

Patients are often in circumstances in the healthcare system where they may feel at their worst and most vulnerable.

As a nurse, when you make a patient feel empowered, it also makes them more likely to fully invest in their treatment.

An easy way to help your patients feel empowered is to involve them in the decision-making process, as they’ll know that the nurses respect their feelings and opinions. 

5. Be empathetic 

How can you improve patient care if you don’t show that you care?

Never underestimate the power of making someone feel like they’re understood because empathy is one of the attributes that distinguishes the good nurses from the great nurses.

When you show empathy towards your patients, you can build a trust that opens up a strong line of communication.

This can allow for a more effective treatment plan to be implemented. 

6. Embrace continual learning 

With the ever-advancing nature of healthcare, you, as a nurse, should always be willing to embrace changes and want to learn how you yourself can improve in order to improve patient care, amongst other things. 

A few ways you can devote yourself to staying informed and continuously learning is to attend workshops, read the latest research in healthcare, and maybe even further your studies.

Getting your graduate certificate of nursing, for example, is one course you can take to aid you in preparing for the future of healthcare.

The more in-the-know you are, the more you’ll be able to help in changing the healthcare system and patient care for the better. 

7. Facilitate open dialogues

Everyone can have their opinions about how best to care for patients, but unless you know how they feel and what they’re going through, you’ll never be able to provide the best care.

If it’s truly your goal to improve patient care, you’ll be a catalyst in creating an environment where caregivers and patients (and even the patients’ families) are able to communicate openly. 

8. Streamline Efficiencies

An organised nurse leads to better patient care.

The more efficient the medical administration system is, the easier it is to reduce errors, save time and improve patient care overall.

A few ways efficiencies can be streamlined are by getting rid of manual documentation and embracing technology and automation – the human element of administration is a major contributor to the inaccuracy of documentation.

You have the resources available nowadays to not only ensure patients’ information is captured correctly but also speed up the process significantly 

9. Be a team

Yes, you’ll have cases where you need to speak to your patients and treat them one-on-one, but nursing is rarely ever a solo endeavour.

You, as the nurse, are one integral part of an elaborate system that needs all parts to work together in order to function effectively.

You need to collaborate with the rest of your team – your fellow nurses, the doctors and all the other medical workers involved.

Working together as a team will allow different perspectives to be shared and different skills to be used, and this collaboration will help enhance patient care. 

10. Use Evidence-Based Practices

Clinical competence is essential when providing patients with the best possible care, and therefore, it should be built on evidence-based practices.

Using evidence-based practices will ensure you’re attuned to all the new intervention methods and protocols so you can make informed decisions regarding your patients’ care. 

Final Thoughts

Remember, when you are treating a patient, you aren’t just treating the condition; you’re treating a person.

A person with thoughts and feelings.

Taking a holistic approach will help drive you towards giving your patients the best care possible.

So, no matter how complicated the case, how busy your schedule is or how different your patient is from you, improving patient care starts with you. 

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