A nurse is more than a healthcare professional; they're caregivers with a mission to serve humanity and empathize with ill patients suffering in pain or worse. With the world dealing with a pandemic, the role of nurses has expanded to other areas of healthcare, such as administration. Because of this, the scope of their influence is increasing exponentially.
Patient care is one of the many ways nurses are reshaping the landscape of healthcare today. In this role as well, they are providing revolutionary services. They are improving the patient's care experience by reducing readmissions and helping reduce costs in the process.
Additionally, their intensive care is reducing medical errors while offering more community-centric care to the patients when providing services. Their mandatory services are making them an integral part of healthcare today, shaping the face of healthcare forever.
What contributed to the changing expertise of nurses?
The nursing profession and the role of nurses have evolved with time. Training and the right kind of education have played an essential role in making them who they are today. Gone are the days when basic nursing knowledge was enough to provide the best services to the patients. Similarly, with primary education, they couldn't assume higher-value managerial and leadership roles.
Academia and education related to the role of nurses have played an essential role in developing curriculum, with specialized degrees geared towards providing better care. Now nurses are better equipped to not only treat but offer relief to terminal patients.
The role of nurses as frontline workers is becoming more and more concrete during the pandemic. With hospitals needing nurses for multiple positions, training institutions have responded with online degree programs to help save time for nurses to earn those certifications and made the procedure more convenient.
Likewise, with nursing becoming a science rather than a duty for treating and serving patients, virtual degree programs such as an online master of science in nursing have surfaced to help nurses take their skills further. Hence, they're more capable of handling complicated situations with patients and equipped with the counseling needs of the patients.
How are nurses changing the healthcare system?
Nurses are expanding the scope of their work from taking part in management positions to volunteering outside their workplace. Some of the ways nurses are changing the healthcare system are:
Volunteering outside the workplace
The nursing profession is synonymous with empathy, care, and teamwork, even though, to some extent, they're offering these services outside their professional responsibilities. Nurses present themselves outside the brick-and-mortar arrangement of health care to provide caregiving services privately as well.
Other volunteering services include offering their medical expertise in community events. A study mentioned here showed 252 out of 315 nurse participants of the survey worked beyond their professional duty to care for the community, changing the public's perception of their role in promoting community health.
The survey also highlighted that these nurses aren't even taking credit for these services. Some emphasize it being a part of their responsibility towards the neighborhood or community.
Unlike their historical role limited to patient care, their new roles encompass imparting education to the patients. Nowadays, nurses are working as education providers for their patients. They recognize the need for awareness as more diseases and health issues occur due to negligence.
Their work as education providers includes advising people on proper diet, the effectiveness of washing hands, and vaccination. They are also engaging with community members to engage in public health awareness campaigns and events to help curb the spread of misinformation.
Nurses as teachers
The service of nurses as education providers is not limited to spreading knowledge in communities only. They are giving this service professionally as well. A nurse's understanding of disease and proper patient care, seasoned with time, helps them be excellent teachers. More and more institutions are taking these nurses onboard to offer lectures to new students entering the field.
Providing invaluable emotional support
When even family is not allowed to stay with the patients, nurses are a source of invaluable emotional support for patients. They work alongside service providers who understand the complexities of illnesses. They know the importance of emotional support at such a time.
Offering counseling to patients and family members helps cope with situations of chronic diseases to the death of a loved one. This is all thanks to their medical knowledge combined with empathy and peoples skills that make them the ideal personnel to provide support in such circumstances.
Nurses as patient advocates
Nurses work near the patients, which gives them time to understand patients' problems, which puts them in an ideal position to put the patient's concerns to the management.
According to the American Nurses Association, advocacy is one of the pillars of the nursing profession, and this role takes various forms. They may range from communication with the medical team about missing details in patients' charts to working with the pharmacists when the meds are not responding in the desired manner.
The advocacy role of the nurses plays a vital role in improving the quality of health care provision and gives patients a chance to voice their concerns in healthcare.
The nursing profession has evolved from mere caregiving to taking care of the sick and dying. Nowadays, they are playing a more active role in bringing meaningful change to society.
With the advancement of knowledge and academia in nursing, caregiving has taken many shapes. With the evolving role of nurses in society and their efforts to bring change to healthcare, their demand is witnessing a sharp increase. The time is ripe for them to polish their skills and expertise to play an active role in making healthcare better.