When you rush to the hospital in an emergency, a nurse is the first person there to help you. Similarly, if you have taken a sick family member to a hospital, you may have a fair idea of how nurses work vigilantly to take care of the patient. Hence, nurses are an integral part of the health care system. Without their assistance, it would be challenging for physicians to run a healthcare organization alone. Nurses are also advocates of the patients, who ensure the quality of service and improvement in society’s overall health.
Considering their roles, nurse practitioners are the backbone of the healthcare system. They work hard and close to the patients to gain their trust. In fact, according to research, patients recover faster under a nurse practitioner’s care than the physician. This unique emphasis on the well-being of an individual differs a nurse practitioner from other health care providers. They promote health and counsel the patients about practices that every individual can follow to improve their quality of life. Therefore, if you wish to enhance your skills as a nurse, you can do a master’s according to your interest. Individuals who have a busy schedule can look for online NP programs for their ease. Online education is the easiest way to continue your studies with your current job. The role of a nurse practitioner is beyond just looking after the patients. They are responsible for the smooth functioning of the entire health care system. Here’s how:
Spending Time with the Patients
Whenever you visit your physician, the nurse takes over and consults you first. They ask you some questions related to your problem and check your vitals along. You might think this small talk is to break the awkward silence. However, this little chit-chat before the physician intervenes; helps get to know the patient more closely. A skilled nurse practitioner knows how to make the most of that little time by digging deep in the most comfortable approach. They can extract essential details with their skills, which the patient may not share with the physician.
Similarly, when you have consulted the physician, the nurse practitioner comes back to you and asks you about the prescribed medicines. They ensure if you have any questions before you leave. Hence, studies have proven that patients in intensive care spend most of their time with the nurses as compared to the physicians.
The most important part of a nurse’s job besides providing good quality care is being the patient’s advocate. A nurse practitioner can help the patients by informing them about their complex treatment plans. They can translate complicated medical terms and help them make the right decision for themselves. Hence spending the most time close to the patient and direct interaction makes nurses the best advocates for them. Nurses preserve the dignity of the patients. They know about cultural and ethnic differences that affect the overall experience of a patient. Similarly, with their compassion and empathy, nurses help them manage the suffering of their illness to a greater extent.
Comprehensive Health Assessments of Patients
A comprehensive assessment of a patient’s health is the most crucial part of your job as a nurse. It is your first step towards delivering high-quality care to the patients. Health assessment is the core responsibility of a nurse. It is the best tool to help you learn about your patient’s concerns, symptoms, and overall health. A skilled nurse builds up a strong rapport with the patients. As most patients are anxious, the nurses help them out by informing them how this detailed assessment will be. They ask for past medical history to identify any chronic conditions. A thorough history helps nurses rule out diseases for the best diagnosis. After the diagnosis, nurses use their critical thinking skills and do deep analyses for the treatment.
Compensate for Physicians Shortage
Though thousands of doctors graduate every year, yet we all see a significant shortage of practicing physicians. This shortage gets more pronounced in rural areas of the country. Here comes the role of nurse practitioners who fill this critical gap in the primary health care system. With the aging population in rural areas, the prevalence of chronic diseases also increases. In addition to that, rural areas have fewer resources. They have less access to quality health care. Therefore, nurse practitioners play a significant role in providing them with high-quality healthcare. This way, the ratio of persistent health conditions decreases to a greater extent. In some countries, nurse practitioners have the license to prescribe medications to patients. Which in turn also compensates for the shortage or unavailability of the physicians.
High-Quality Care at Lower Cost
You will come across myriad practices that have hired nurse practitioners. Now one would question the quality of service a nurse practitioner provides. Is it of high quality, and is it cost-effective? The answer is yes. The presence of nurse practitioners ensures high quality of health but at a lower cost. Research has proven that nurse practitioner-led clinics and hospitals have lower drug costs for the patients who come in to treat any acute condition.
Similarly, chronic diseases take a toll on a patient’s health and pocket. However, if nurse practitioners decrease, patients stay at the hospital, which directly impacts the time and cost of the treatment.
Hence, nurse practitioners go beyond just treating the patients. They address the holistic needs of a patient. Being the backbone of the healthcare system, they have extensive experience taking care of the patients and smoothly carrying out hospital procedures. Similarly, nurse practitioners use their advanced skills to advocate for their patients. Nurses ensure that patients get the high quality of health care which they deserve. Considering these factors, the demand for nurse practitioners has increased over time. Some states even offer handsome salaries for their skills. Therefore, if you hold a nursing degree, you can further enhance your skills by getting further education in the respective field. In addition to that, you can also specialize in adult-gerontology, pediatric care, family practitioner, etc. Hence, do detailed research on what suits you to be successful in your profession.
Main photo by Павел Сорокин