In the past, nurses were restricted towards caring for patients, giving them medicines, food, and changing sheets. In today’s era, that’s changed because nurses are just as critical as doctors themselves. This is especially true after the covid-19 pandemic. The demand for nurses has increased tenfold. Since doctors are limited, healthcare facilities have nurses pulling double shifts to help patients affected by the pandemic.
Nurses play a crucial role in promoting health to the patients due to their unique relationship between the doctors and the patient. Since nurses spend more time with a patient than a doctor, patients are inclined to listen to nurses and follow their advice even more. This makes nurses an essential source in promoting good health in patients.
1. They provide general education
Whenever you go to a hospital for a routine checkup or an illness, sometimes you don’t interact with a doctor directly. Nurses now have the autonomy and academic qualification to diagnose diseases, request and perform tests and examinations, and prescribe medicines.
So, when a nurse checks you, they educate you about your condition and tell you preventative methods that can help you maintain your health. Nurses spend years studying about patient care and learning new ways on how to deal with complex situations, but there’s always more to learn. With long working hours and multiple shifts, it is challenging for them to pursue higher education.
To make higher education more accessible, institutions offer an online master’s nursing programs, specifically designed for nurses who find it difficult to study because of their working hours. These online degrees add to the knowledge and expertise for patient care and guide them on topics like exercise, hygiene, nutrition, etc.
Nurses can educate the general public through different means. For example, they may host a session to educate about a specific topic. Or they may provide informational literature to their patients. But most often, nurses choose to inform a patient during their checkups or follow-up sessions.
For example, if someone with back pain or joint pain issues visits the hospital, they can inform the patient about how weight contributes to this pain. Furthermore, some nurses may also guide a patient about ways to reduce weight to maintain their health.
2. Identifying at-risk patients
Another strategy that healthcare service providers and nurses mainly follow is paying attention to the general demographics. They correlate these demographics with the patient’s medical history and family’s medical history to identify risks of severe diseases. The nurse holds the responsibility of facilitating any important screenings or providing information about preventative measures.
Let us take the example of a patient with a family history of cholesterol problems and heart diseases. A nurse can identify the pattern and recommend regular tests for blood pressure and cholesterol to keep track of their health. They then guide the patient about how avoiding certain foods and exercise can help them prevent heart diseases. This way, nurses identify at-risk patients beforehand and provide them the help and information they need to remain healthy.
3. Facilitate access to care
Often time it happens that a patient is unaware of what facilities their health plan covers. Being in the dark and their uncertainty often leads to patients missing out on vital facilities that include tests, screenings, and immunities.
This tends to put a patient in a state of disadvantage. In such cases, it is the nurse’s job to guide the patient about their health plan details. Nurses also help in the acquisition and arrangement of whatever health care facility the patient may require. Hence, educating them and promoting good health through guidance.
4. Monitor patient’s health
The doctors have the responsibility to check in with their patients from time to time. But it is the nurses who constantly supervise and monitor the patient and keep records of their patient’s health. Their responsibilities range from taking the patient’s vital signs to keeping their medical history in mind and their effects with the current medication.
Throughout this process, a nurse works day in and day out to restore the patient’s health. But their work doesn’t end there because a nurse also has to guide the patient about preventative measures they can take to stay healthy. They also educate the patient about steps they can take to restore health after leaving the hospital quickly.
5. Validate information
We all have a sea of information right under our fingertips. But we often fail to realize that not all this information is valid or, at minimum, most of it doesn’t apply to you. It is not foreign to feel a little under the weather and search symptoms on the internet to find out that you have some life-threatening disease.
We all have done similar research on our own and then rushed to the hospital to find that we only had simple flu or an allergy. The misinformation on the internet and our lack of awareness make it the nurse’s responsibility to educate us about sources we can obtain valid information from. So, a nurse helps their patient by deciding which information and website are suitable for them.
No one can deny the vital role of nurses in the healthcare industry. In recent years, they have stepped ahead to take charge of most patients while doctors and physicians deal with critical cases. As important as their role is in the nursing industry, it is just as important in people’s life mostly because nurses are responsible for educating the masses about health and aspects that affect a person’s health.
The preventative information they convey during checkups works to promote good health in society. As people learn the origins of their illnesses and conditions, they seek ways to prevent and protect themselves in ways the nurse guides them. This responsibility makes every society a healthier society.