This week marks National Nurses Week in the U.S., both a celebration of the profession and an opportunity to educate the public about the role nurses play in healthcare and their communities. This year’s theme of “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence” highlights three concepts that overlap and reflect the innate role nurses play in patient care, as well as drawing attention to the personality types often drawn to nursing.
The role of a nurse is a complex one. Not only is this individual responsible for the physical bedside care of multiple patients, but may also be called upon to offer emotional support for patients and their families. While this is an absolute honor and a privilege, it can also be emotionally draining and lead to burnout syndrome or compassion fatigue. In order to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care, we must make sure that nurses have support for their own emotional well-being.
Care delivery best practices are constantly changing to optimize efficiency and safety, and look considerably different compared to just a decade ago. The digital healthcare transformation has ushered in promising opportunities to use technology to improve nurse and clinician workflows, monitor patients remotely, and provide secure paths for communication between care team members.
Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations (American Nurses Association, 2014)
Nurses are on the frontlines delivering care and ensuring that a patient’s safety and best interest remain at the center of care. Key nursing values promote a holistic approach to patient care – one that incorporates not only clinical responsibilities, but also compassion, cultural sensitivity, situational awareness and tech savviness. Continue reading
Much of how we approach healthcare improvements today is focused on physicians. At first blush, this makes sense since traditionally they are perceived as key decision makers. But, it is important to remember that patient care is delivered by collaborative clinical team – including nurses.
As the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes, nursing is the nation’s largest health care profession, and registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce as a whole. Additionally, the role of nursing in care delivery is growing at the same time that healthcare is experiencing a nurse shortage. Nurses now juggle several fundamental responsibilities including coordinating care, administering medications, interpreting patient diagnostics information, and directing/supervising care. These individuals care for a caseload of anywhere from 1 to 15 patients during an 8-12 hour shift.
I’ve worked in healthcare for more years than I care to admit – as nurse, manager, supervisor, researcher, panelist, educator, preceptor and mentor. When I first started practicing, patients on the medical and surgical floors of today would have been in the ICU.
The technology and capacity to extend life creates new levels of complexity in care. Yet reports indicate the number of experienced clinicians at the bedside is shrinking. About half of the registered nurses in the U.S. have diplomas or associate degrees and the other half are prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher. Less than one percent of our registered nurses are doctorally prepared. An estimated 33 percent of the registered nurses currently working in the hospital setting will retire within 12 years.