Nurses act as the backbone of the healthcare system. They actively devise care plans and strategize administrative solutions, from primary care to technical diagnosis and senior management roles. Due to the aging nursing population in the US, the demand for new entrants is high, and so is the payout for their positions.
For this reason, many people enter the nursing field by getting the right qualification and experience. The best part of the nursing field is the work flexibility and the ability to switch professions without changing the field, making it suitable for any candidate interested in pursuing nursing. It also provides job stability, income security, and other benefits of joining the workforce.
Nurses play an imperative role in contributing to healthcare by serving their communities and spreading health awareness in low-income areas with poor sanitation. They also work with the government and their institution to provide healthcare safety in rural and remote areas.
Let us look into some other prominent reasons why nursing is an important and vast field.
1. Nursing Contributes to Health Literacy
Low health literacy is one of the biggest challenges in the US’s health industry. Nurses help fill this gap by educating people about the importance of healthcare at every stage of people’s lives.
Nursing is a vast field with various specializations, and nurses of all specializations play their role in spreading healthcare education. They set up free health camps to educate communities about how to ensure high-quality healthcare. Similarly, an occupational health nurse works with a business organization to ensure the healthcare standards of its employees. Clinical nurses are experts in communicating complicated medical conditions to patients and their families.
2. Nurses Monitor Patient’s Health
Nurses are the only caregivers who monitor patients’ health over long periods. They provide the necessary care for as long as required. They follow up on patients’ healthcare plans, revise them as required, and monitor their progress over time. They also assess a patient’s likelihood of falling sick and take necessary actions in time. They do this by checking the patient’s vital signs and medical history for signs of deteriorating or improving health.
Then, they summarize their assessments, update patient records, and communicate them to the relevant departments or a larger care team. They also take care of patient billings and update payment records.
3. Nurses Act As Patient Advocates
When providing all-day healthcare, nurses get to spend more time with patients. It means that they can advocate for their patient’s health conditions. They can better analyze their behavioral patterns, lifestyle habits, or any special concerns they might have.
According to the American Nurses Association, nurse advocacy is one of the pillars of nursing. One of the ways nurses advocate for their patients is by talking to their family members and relatives. It might lead them to uncover that part of the patient’s health not revealed in the health charts. They can use this information to relay to the wider healthcare team of the patient.
Another way of nurse advocacy is analyzing whether a certain medicine is working properly and communicating related concerns to the pharmacy. In addition, they also coordinate their patient’s health with other healthcare provider institutions. They ensure the patient’s consent before proceeding with a procedure.
4. Nurses Have Greater Healthcare Autonomy
Nurses are the first ones to identify a health defect in a patient. While they may inform the relevant physician, taking immediate action also falls under their autonomy. They may take immediate action when required.
In addition, nurses have the power to administer the required care without consulting the patient’s physician. For example, if a patient’s magnesium level drops at an alarming rate, the nurse can provide magnesium to the patient to stabilize their levels.
However, such autonomy requires effective communication with the physicians and other healthcare professionals working on providing care to the patients. They also require a deep and thorough understanding of their practices, safety procedures, standard protocols, and collaborative measures. Their degree, experience, and level of practice help foster a trustworthy relationship with the other staff where nurses can act on their own if they portray responsible behavior.
5. Nurses Provide After-Care Services
In addition to providing primary care, nurses help patients recover from surgery or a traumatic injury and provide mental and emotional support. They are available for their patients long after the primary treatment to help them recover from intensive or harsh treatments.
In case of traumatic injuries that render someone temporary paralysis, nurses help patients with bodily functions and assist them after their physical training or therapy sessions. They let their patients know what they must do to speed up their recovery process and what they must abstain from.
Some studies also noted that patients spend around 86% of their time with nurses, compared to only 14% with physicians and doctors. Nurses may often be on night duty to care for their patients if it is difficult for them to spend a comfortable night, given their condition.
6. Nurses Use their Vital Skills Outside of Work
A nurse’s work and the learning process never stop. They offer healthcare advice, give emergency care, perform CPR, save lives by stopping people from choking on something, and act immediately in case someone gets a heart attack in a public place.
Children in water pools, people coming down with epileptic fits, and other sudden and unexpected attacks turn towards a registered nurse to help them take immediate actions outside the hospital or a clinic.
A professional nurse trained in providing healthcare in any situation and condition in any culture is highly valuable. Their education and qualifications make them eligible to care for someone outside of work. Given the vast demand for nurses, a higher than national payout rate attracts many individuals to enter the field every year.
Another reason for the attraction in this field is the vastness, flexibility, and ability to switch nursing functions without changing the profession. Some of the most important reasons for the nursing field’s vastness include contributing to health literacy, monitoring patients’ health, acting as patients’ advocates, having greater healthcare autonomy and after-care services, and using nursing skills outside work.