You became a nurse for many reasons, but for most people, this career move was made with one main point in mind: you want to help people.
But at the end of a long shift, as you’re peeling yourself out of your scrubs in anticipation of a soothing, stress-relieving bath, you find you’re asking yourself, “How could I have done better?”
What could you have done differently today that would have helped that one cardiac patient as he prepares to go home tomorrow? Could you have done anything else to help your pediatric patient and her worried parents?
Like most good nurses, you want to do better. You want to be better. Here are 5 practical ways to improve your patient care and be a rockstar:
- Stress safety: Neglect of basic safety protocols is a major cause of patient care mishaps. It is also an easily avoidable one. Follow your hospital or clinic’s protocol as well as all checklists. No matter how small your checklist to-dos may seem, follow them. Little steps like tending to oral care, which is linked to reducing the risk of pneumonia, and turning your patients make a difference. Yes, it can feel like you don’t have time, but making time to keep your patient’s safety at the top of the list helps everyone.
- Listen to your patients: We know, you’re often in a rush. But when you have moments with your patients, seize the opportunity to really have a conversation! Hear their goals, their frustrations, and their problems. Take notice of certain things, like if they’ve never taken a medication you’re about to administer.
- Remember: Your patients are people. Often a patient will be referred to as the “CHF patient in room 6.” Use their name. Look them in the eye when you’re talking to them. Ask open-ended questions. Empower your patients to better understand self-care so that they have full autonomy when they are no longer in your care.
- Remain a life-long learner: Nursing education does not end once you have the degree. The nursing field, as well as medicine and science in general, is ever-growing and evolving. Stay on top of the game to ensure you are delivering quality care with the latest research. Employing evidence-based practices not only gives your patients the best care, but it also increases your value. Helloooo newer and more abundant career opportunities!
- Have your patients “teach-back” what they just learned from you. Your patients are not going to be with you forever. Part of your job is making sure they don’t have to come back. You want them to leave feeling empowered and autonomous, fully loaded with the knowledge you gave them regarding how to properly take care of themselves. Have your patients teach back what they’ve learned. This ensures that they understand and will be able to properly do what you’ve told them to do.
Of course, arguably the most important way to keep your patient care on point is to take good care of yourself. Individuals in the caregiving fields too often neglect their own needs. As the adage goes: you cannot pour from an empty cup. Listen to your mind, heart, and body, and give yourself what you need when you need it.
Visit us here at CynaMed for more nursing resources. If you’re looking for support or seeking out different employment, our friendly staff is here to help!