Widely regarded as the nation’s largest health care profession, more than 2.7 million registered nurses work daily as patient advocates. Nurses operate within the front lines of responding to patient illnesses and conditions.
The success of each nurse can be found not just in the care of their patients, but also in the patients’ recovery time. The care they give and the decisions they make surrounding diagnosis and treatment are critical to 36.5 million patients annually.
Through the education of online RN to BSN programs, care philosophy, staff collaboration, clinical practice and the workplace environment, nurses can learn how to achieve a positive impact on patient recovery.
Education and Experience
Nurses who further their education with a BSN degree play an integral role in patient recovery. A study on the impact of nursing in patient mortality found a 10 percent increase in the number of staffed BSN nurses, linked to a 5 percent decrease in the likelihood of patient deaths.
An advanced nursing education helps lay a knowledge foundation for clinical practice while also providing an understanding of the social, political and technological factors that affect health care. The educational value that a BSN degree can provide can decrease the learning curve in these areas once a nurse enters the workforce, allowing more time to be devoted to the patients.
Additionally, this type of quality education acts as a gateway to graduate nursing programs that allow nurses to hone their skills in a specialized patient care area, which can also benefit the patient. Clinical error can have serious consequences. The wrong dosage or a misdiagnosis can alter the course of a patient’s recovery process.
However, proper clinical training and education can thwart these potential mistakes, improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. Clinical practice is a paradigm for treatment and recovery efforts, proving especially vital when case evidence is not readily accessible.
According to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study, patient-centric care is directly linked to health care quality and safety. Nurses can foster this kind of health care environment in a number of ways.
It starts with the non-verbal communication between patients and nurses. A Japanese study found that the expressed emotion (EE) by nurses toward patients could have an effect on a patient’s illness, with positive expression increasing the rate of recovery. Building a trusting, respectful relationship with every patient encounter through emotional empathy may help lead to similar outcomes.
Communication with a patient and their families to collaborate on treatment and diagnosis may provide the necessary knowledge of the patient’s condition to effectively manage their ailments and prevent future reoccurrence. By giving patients a voice and emphasizing their wellbeing, a nurse’s ability to provide careful instructions for self-management can benefit patient quality of life.
Patient-centered care gives nurses the distinct advantage of consistent, daily assessment of conditions. This allows nurses to identify the slightest changes in a patient’s condition so that they can proactively alter treatment and care when needed.
The nursing and patient mortality study also revealed that hospitals with the lowest mortality rates were more inclined to have better nurse-to-physician relationships. While communication is key between patients, it is equally important among staff.
A health care team must be able to adapt and work together, understanding how individual responsibilities operate within the framework of group efforts. Nurses who support their team’s actions, oversee other individual’s work and provide constructive feedback are able to approve their approaches to every patient.
This teamwork participation may fall outside the boundaries of any technical skillset of jobs performed by nurses, but may prove to be integral to a positive environment for both patients and staff.
The Nursing Workplace Environment
A study for the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research suggests that reducing patient-to-nurse ratios boosts outcomes in good hospital work environments. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality adds that fewer nurses on staff diminish patient outcomes, which may be marred by pneumonia, infections or cardiac arrest.
A surplus of nursing staff can reduce workload and stress, giving more time to focus on the recovery process of patients and taking less time in determining how to juggle the patient load. When nurses acquire the skills from a BSN online or other advanced degree, they may be better prepared for the workforce demand of handling more patients, complex procedures and the evolving technology that’s now an intrinsic part of every patient process.
Other workplace factors can impact a nurse’s efforts in terms of patient recovery. The way nurses are trained and how they’re recognized when achieving professional goals may ignite the motivation that accompanies their compassionate core values.
A workplace culture guided by patient safety requires strong nurse leadership that will keep staff alert and assist in the decision-making process of patient outcomes. Empowering nurses with the necessary resources in the workplace means that patients can be given every opportunity available to improve and thrive.
Nurses: The Primary Patient Advocate
Every nurse is a leader, whether or not they have the professional aspirations that promote these traits. RNs and BSNs are in the unique position to make a daily difference in patient recovery that can be quantified by every hospital department.
If nurses work by patients’ bedsides, their communication and care is essential to implementing treatment courses of action that patients will respond to. At the leadership level of health care administration, a nurse can utilize her hands-on patient experience to identify the best ways to delegate resources that ensure patients are given every effort to reach a positive outcome.
With the right RN-BSN online degree, nurses gain the clinical experience and educational know-how to skillfully put their theories into practice. Fostering a combination of personal skills and evidence-based practices, nurses can focus on patients so that they may bridge communication gaps in treatment, self-management and care.
Tapping into the abundant knowledge of their teams, nurses can collaborate to improve patient recovery times. Understanding how the workplace culture can alter patient care can give nurses the understanding needed to make changes that have a positive impact.
Sacred Heart University is an accredited institution of higher learning which promotes spiritual and ethical values and rejoices in learning and discovery. The many nursing programs that are offered strive to prepare students to make meaningful contributions to the world.