Healthcare facilities truly value exceptional nurses and are a real asset for improving patient care quality. Empathetic, intelligent, vigilant, and compassionate nurses are best equipped to ensure patients are satisfied with their experience and receive the high-quality care they deserve.
The emphasis on the healthcare sector and the need for better quality care increased following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurses are the frontline workers with the most dominant role in interacting with patients; therefore, they are also in the best position to implement measures to improve patient care quality. More than any other healthcare provider, nurses have the greatest part in hands-on care.
Acknowledging this impact, nurses should work towards maximizing the quality of service they provide. The following tips should help you improve care quality for your patients and ensure better long-term outcomes:
Prepare for lifelong learning
The best nurse practitioners are the ones who are equipped with relevant knowledge and experience in their field. Since the healthcare sector is ever-evolving and rapidly changing, nurses must keep up with the latest advancements by renewing their education.
Continued education helps nurses keep up-to-date with changes like telehealth or new treatment options. Besides pursuing higher education, you can also earn experience by joining a professional organization, attending conferences, subscribing to nursing journals, and seeking certification.
Many institutions facilitate their students with online options so that they can pursue education even while working part-time. When enrolling in a higher-education program, look for options that suit your schedule. For instance, you can register for an MSN to FNP online degree program and specialize in family practice.
As humans, we all falter and make mistakes, but in tasks as sensitive as those performed by nurses, even minor errors can have fatal consequences for the patient. Never overestimate your ability to do things correctly, and always double-check everything you do.
For each task, question yourself if you have selected the right drug, have the correct diagnosis, or if the patient you are catering to is the right one. Work on this habit from day one; it will soon become a natural response.
In addition to rechecking as you go, also make it a routine to review your work during the day; list down all your actions, every diagnosis you gave, and all medications you administered. Such reviewing will help you determine if you missed anything or faltered somewhere.
Provide individualized patient care
In most healthcare settings, referring patients by their ward and room number is okay. This practice dehumanizes patient care and removes the element of empathy or compassion. Counter to this practice is individualized care which all healthcare settings should strive towards.
Nurses can, on an individual level, work on this as well. Individualizing patient care means that you tailor your services to the specific patient, connect with them on a personal level, make an effort to understand their particular dilemma and provide care accordingly.
Before you proceed, work on familiarizing yourself with the patient’s beliefs, expectations, and values. Such individualized care helps develop a rapport with the patient, the patient is fully involved in their care, and it facilitates better communication.
Never hesitate to ask questions
Anyone who fears asking questions never gets to learn. They are the gateway to knowledge, and when you are new to nursing, you are not expected to know everything. Also, not asking can have terrible consequences for the patients under your care.
Whenever you are uncertain about anything, your first resort should be to question the more experienced colleagues and get guidance. This is never taken negatively by the authorities; it indicates commitment and a desire to learn.
Healthcare as a whole is a joint venture for employees at all levels, and similarly, nursing is based on teamwork. Everyone is there to support one another, so feel free to ask questions.
Keep the patient’s family in the loop
The AMA Journal of Ethics points out that patient care demands accepting the support of the patient’s loved ones. Family-centered care involves allowing patients and their family members to contribute to decision-making.
Such collaborative care plans are more efficient because they promote compliance, build trust, and increase compliance. Such care is also effective in engendering trust.
Compassion and empathy are part and parcel of all professions directed toward community service. Compassion can be defined as a deep understanding and awareness of the other person’s problems.
While it is still possible to provide quality care without getting involved with the patient in this way, empathy and compassion are known to yield better outcomes. Empathy is known to improve patient outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, lead to higher compliance rates, and improve communication.
Patients are stressed out, worried, anxious, and often frightened of their situation. It is highly reassuring to feel understood and cared for by their nurses. With compassion and empathy on your behalf, you can also inspire your co-workers to exhibit similar qualities and improve patient care.
Work on your communication skills
As frontline workers, nurses often communicate directly with patients and family members. Knowing the right way to convey the message is essential, whether it is other colleagues or higher-ups you are interacting with, the patient, or the patient’s family. It is thus one of the most critical nursing skills you must have.
When talking to other healthcare professionals about patients, for instance, it is advised that you use the SBAR technique. SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation. These aspects cover the entire framework for information on a patient.
When dealing with patients, make sure to use simple and understandable language, avoid using technical jargon, communicate empathy, and give respect. Also, closely monitor your body language and ensure it conveys compassion and is not threatening. Also, practice active listening by showing attention and maintaining eye contact.
Nurses play a significant role in delivering high-quality patient care and are among the frontline workers who can have the most impact. Therefore, nurses should work on refining their strategy to help improve the quality of care patients receive.
To begin with, you must prepare for lifelong learning. Always double-check, provide individualized care, never hesitate to ask questions, show compassion, and polish your communication skills. This will help improve patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.