Nurses are on the front line when it comes to understanding a patient’s needs. Although doctors and other clinicians make a formal diagnosis and provide treatment, it’s the nursing staff who have the most direct insight into a patient’s minute-to-minute medical care.
Let’s dig into the way nurses communicate, and understand how vital that is to great patient outcomes and the best clinical care.
Nurses Communicate Their Immediate Understanding of a Patient’s Condition and Needs
From initial triage through to taking health measurements, and from treatment to monitoring outcomes, nurses are the first to understand a patient’s condition and any changes to their health. They are the best line of communication to other team members, doctors, and clinicians and those updates are critical to providing great healthcare.
Nurses Understand the Emotional State of Patients
Taking care of patients is about more than just tending to their immediate medical needs. Because nurses spend more time with individual patients they can also get an understanding of a person’s emotional well-being and other areas that may be affecting their health. They can then provide this bigger picture to help others make decisions on appropriate treatment plans.
Nurses Can Understand Family and Patient Dynamics and Relationships
Nurses are also key to good communications with the patient’s family and loved ones. They can provide updates on the patient’s condition and treatment, and also gather further information that may be helpful for ensuring better patient outcomes.
Nurses Identify and Communicate Minute-to-Minute Changes in a Patient’s Condition
Nurses check on patients regularly. That means they can quickly see any deviations from expected treatments and outcomes, and notify other members of their team if there’s anything that needs special attention.
Nurses Provide Entertainment and Stimulation
Being in a hospital or other healthcare environment can be boring for patients. Nurses can help to break that boredom by communicating with patients, playing games, reading with them, or otherwise interacting. This can make a huge difference to a patient’s quality of care.
Nurses Communicate Dietary and Other Specialized Needs
A patient may have needs outside their medical care. For example, some patients may have specialized diets, or particular religious beliefs. Nurses can ensure this information is provided to the right people so that quality of care isn’t compromised, and the patient’s requirements are met.
Nurses Reassure Patients and Advocate for Them
Nurses provide reassurance and assistance for patients. They can help to explain a diagnosis or give recommendations on how to follow a treatment plan or take medications. They will also follow-up with the physician for things like lab results or critical information.
Nurses Hand Over Care to Others on Their Teams
Another vital part of a nurse’s duties is nurse-to-nurse communications and handovers. This is especially important if they are going off shift and need to bring other team members up to speed on the condition and treatment of individual patients.
Nurses Log Communications and Send Messages via Collaboration Platforms
Nurses don’t just need to rely on their own interpersonal skills and memory. Clinical Communication and Collaboration software can help nurses stay up to date, communicate with other care team members, and record important information about patients.
You can see that what nurses do goes far beyond just talking to patients and other nurses. They are the front line for communications, and giving them the right skills and technology can enhance every part of your healthcare organization.