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Nurses as advocates for patient-centered care

Patient-centered care is a type of care in which the interests and preferences of the patient are given the highest priority. It entails handling patients empathetically and respectfully while assisting them in making choices regarding their well-being and treatment plans. 

Patient-centered care requires keeping the patient up to date on the latest developments in their care. It often entails informing patients of test findings, diagnoses, and probable consequences of various procedures if they need medical attention. Patients are involved in all aspects of therapy, such as decisions on which methods to employ and which medications to take.

The importance of patient-centered care

Patient-centered care has various advantages for healthcare professionals and patients alike. Patients are more likely to take an active role in their own health and experience better results when they are at the center of treatment. Additionally, patients are more likely to be happy with their treatment and have a better overall experience.

In addition to greater coordination of treatment, patient-centered care can result in a more significant interaction between the patient and medical staff. Patients can better grasp their alternatives and make knowledgeable decisions about their medical treatment when they are included in the decision-making process.

Advantages of patient-centered care

Here is a look at some of the main advantages of using a patient-centered care model.

Enhanced patient satisfaction

By employing patient-centered care methods, patients may feel more supported. Healthcare workers can more effectively satisfy the demands of their patients and raise their level of satisfaction when they take the time to pay close attention to what they want and expect from their treatment.

Improved reputation

Healthcare personnel can improve the reputation and credibility of their organization in the medical sector by providing patient-centered care. Patients who experience excellent treatment from healthcare providers may leave evaluations that are more favorable.

Increased staff morale

Since medical providers have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with patients while implementing patient-centered care procedures, it can motivate staff and boost morale.

Lower costs

Providing excellent patient-centered care may also help healthcare facilities to cut costs. Healthcare professionals may be able to reduce errors by paying attention to patients’ needs and demands, which might eventually reduce the amount of money the institution has to spend.

Effective health outcomes 

Improved patient wellness can result from patient-centered treatment. When patients are properly looked after, it can help them feel less stressed, sleep better, and express their needs to medical staff more effectively.

The role of nurses in patient-centered care

Patients’ experiences with nursing professionals can have a significant impact on how they feel about their care. Nurses spend more of their time with patients than other hospital employees do, offering comfort and bedside services in addition to outlining the steps involved in their treatment. This implies that they will contribute significantly to the delivery of patient-centered care. 

Every choice that a nurse makes needs to be based on the requirements and priorities of the patient. Nurses will be at the forefront of any effort to integrate patient-centered care as a general strategy inside an organization.

In patient-centered care, the job of nurses is to work in close collaboration with patients and their relatives to deliver care that is tailored to their needs. By performing examinations, educating patients, and offering assistance to patients and their families, nurses play a crucial role in guaranteeing their patients receive the highest-quality care possible.

To determine what their patients need, nurses employ a range of methods, including acquiring a detailed medical history, conducting physical assessments, and requesting testing for diagnostic purposes. Additionally, they detect possible issues and offer treatment suggestions using their professional judgment.

By educating patients on illness procedures, therapies and taking care of themselves, nurses can have a big impact on improving patient outcomes. They can also serve as an advocate and source of information for patients and their families as they guide them through the healthcare system.

Nurses are essential for organizing treatment and collaborating with other colleagues to guarantee that patients get the treatment they need. Furthermore, they act as patient advocates, promoting the rights of patients and making sure they are properly addressed.

What is advocacy in nursing?

Nurses have an obligation to guarantee that patients are receiving the best possible quality of treatment, regardless of whether they work in outpatient clinics, hospitals or other types of institutions. Nurse advocates seek to ensure that guidelines, directions and facilities are focused on meeting patients’ needs while preserving their safety.

Nurse advocates offer a point of contact between patients, their physicians and medical facilities. For example, when a physician administers or changes medicines or prescribes tests to a patient, nurses are the ones who assist those patients during the treatment process. A nurse advocate can explain a patient’s illness or diagnosis to them as well as their caregivers and relatives if they are unfamiliar with it.

Likewise, nurse advocates make sure that healthcare professionals are providing their patients with the best and most affordable treatment options. For example, they can help patients select the course of treatment that will be best for both their health and their financial circumstances if a doctor offers them multiple options. They can inform patients on where to receive financial aid and find out what their insurance will cover.

Qualities of nursing advocacy

Being a nurse not only involves facilitating patients’ rehabilitation; it entails advocating for patients’ needs in terms of cultural sensitivity. Nurses must be prepared to comprehend the specific requirements of every patient and maintain vigilance throughout the course of their care to serve as effective advocates. Additionally, they must be prepared to speak up on behalf of the nursing profession to ensure that every nurse has access to proper legal protections.

To become a successful advocate for patients, nurses must possess the following qualities:

  • Keep yourself informed: During the treatment of a patient, it is important to be knowledgeable about their entire treatment plan, their prior health conditions, and any cultural values or preferences that could influence how they view the treatment they get. Additionally, it is vital to remain current on nursing skills and standards of care. The more knowledgeable and up-to-date nurses are, the easier it will be for them to recognize how and when a patient requires advocacy and communicate more effectively on their behalf with other healthcare staff.
  • Provide education: Providing healthcare services and handling patients can be quite challenging. Nurses must always take the time to explain the treatment plan and other procedures to their patients. This helps to reduce patient concerns and increase their faith in their nurses’ ability to assist them if they run into issues.
  • Be assertive: Nurses should ensure they are being listened to when advocating on behalf of patients to a healthcare team, supervisors, or insurance company representatives. This does not mean they should be aggressive or impolite. However, it does require them to be straightforward and persistent. If the safety of patients is a concern, nurses should not give up until the issue is resolved. Moreover, nurses should assist staff members in recognizing cases where they are not acting in the patients’ best interests and how they can make improvements if they are not behaving with adequate cultural awareness when caring for a patient.
  • Be political: Nurses can only effectively advocate for those they care for if they have the authority and power needed to carry out their duties. By devoting the time to sharing their thoughts with officials about nursing-related problems, nurses can contribute to making sure local, state and federal laws and guidelines promote the position of nurses and safeguard them from retaliation when they speak up about the safety of their patients and other issues.

Education required to become a competent nurse advocate

Pursuing a higher degree is a great way to advance your nursing career. Enrolling in a program like the TWU online MSN FNP program can help you gain advanced nursing knowledge, improve your advocacy skills, and boost your career. Texas Woman’s University provides you with the opportunity to earn your master’s degree online at your own pace. Their MSN FNP degree program can prepare you for a job as a nurse practitioner as well as roles in other industries that need nurse leaders, such as healthcare informatics, nursing education, nurse management and nurse mentoring.

Skills needed to become a practical nurse advocate

To be effective in patient advocacy, nurses need to possess certain fundamental skills. They must be aware of the policies and rules affecting medical practices and patient treatment alternatives. To collaborate with medical teams, governmental agencies and families while advocating for the patient, nurse advocates need the following skills.

A passion for helping others

One of the most important qualities for patient advocates is a passion for helping patients and their loved ones. Nurses need to have a natural compassion for others and an understanding of the difficulties patients face with their medical conditions. Nurse advocates should be highly creative and ready to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect patients’ most significant needs.

Effective communication skills

Nurse advocates have to interact with numerous individuals, including patients, their relatives, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, along with health insurance company representatives. They must act as the patient’s advocate and a point of contact with other individuals in charge of the patient’s medical, legal and financial needs.

Additionally, nurses need to be proficient communicators with other medical professionals. They must be able to ask the right questions to gather details, listen to patients effectively, and articulate their issues to others in a manner that encourages cooperation.

Excellent organizational skills

A nurse advocate must carefully maintain patients’ records, documenting all of the details of every case, keeping track of any follow-up conversations with the patient, and recording any discussions with other parties. To ensure that each patient’s case is adequately organized, nurse advocates must also possess strong time management abilities.

Exceptional problem-solving skills

Nurse advocates must possess the motivation and competency needed to mediate and negotiate agreements and help patients overcome the obstacles they face. Research skills are a necessary component of solving issues and helping patients understand their rights.

The bottom line

In addition to providing medical care, nurses can advocate for their patients and ensure they are receiving proper treatment. Patient-centered care is an effective approach nurses can employ for improving patient outcomes.

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