Nurses are trained to provide the best healthcare services to their patients. The role of nurses involves meeting their patients’ physical, emotional, and social needs, and none of that is possible if they are not committed to doing the best at their job. To provide the best care for your patients, you will need to be a great nurse. To be a great nurse, you must be empathetic, compassionate, and educated. You must be responsible in your role, be careful with your tasks, and prioritize your patients above everything else.
If you often wonder how to be a better nurse and improve patient care, we have listed some ways you can build your nursing skills and develop professionally.
- Advance your education
As a nurse, your learning should never take a backseat. Your education doesn’t stop with the last degree you have earned. Instead, you must keep seeking opportunities to further your education and learn and grow in your field. With a profession that requires constant quality improvement in providing healthcare to numerous people, you will benefit by making lifelong learning one of your priorities.
In the healthcare system, changes and improvements are common and expected. Learning about the new changes and how to adapt your practice accordingly is essential to improve the quality of care. Other than enrolling in further nursing-related courses, advanced practice registered nurses can also take on the role of clinical preceptor to help improve the healthcare system. Learning goes hand-in-hand with teaching. If your knowledge in the profession can help aspiring nurses improve their performance, you will be contributing directly to a better healthcare system by guiding them into being competent nurses.
- Focus on the people
The key to delivering quality healthcare is always thinking of your patients as people rather than tasks. Becoming task-oriented will cost you the human connection with your patients, ultimately compromising the quality of care. A good nurse may focus on learning and improving, but a great nurse will focus on doing the right thing for every one of their patients.
Nursing is a stressful profession, so it is expected of nurses to be constantly on their toes to perform all their tasks. However, thinking and planning for various tasks should not take your focus when interacting with your patients. You should be able to give your patient your undivided attention and get to know them better to meet their needs.
Learn how to connect with your patient when you are treating them to help make their lives a little better. To move from a task-oriented approach to a people-oriented approach, start by addressing your patients by name, making small talk, and always asking them whether they need anything.
- Improve your communication skills
Communication skills are one of the key contributors to a quality healthcare system. To become a successful nurse, you may need to hone your communication skills to effectively deal with doctors, fellow nurses, patients, and their loved ones. Acquiring proficiency in communication does not happen overnight. If, as a new nurse, you find yourself nervous when reporting to a superior or can’t relay the patient’s condition well enough for them to understand, know that it is nothing you can’t overcome through self-directed skill development.
Communication with your patients is always a much-needed area for improvement. Your patients are vulnerable, with no choice but to entrust their health to your hands. Educating them about their condition and treatment and showing empathy and compassion when they need help is essential while taking care of them. Also, remember that your patients may not be aware of medical jargon and acronyms, so it is best to relay information by breaking it down into simpler terms as much as possible. Your job is to make the patient understand better, not leave them confused or intimidated with large amounts of information. If you are confused about how to approach a particular situation with your patient, take advice from senior nurses on how to interact better.
- Double Check your work
Double-checking your work may seem like the oldest advice in the book, but it is one of the most effective for detecting errors. Review your work every working moment, for it is possible to forget to report or record something because of the many tasks running through your head. Review your charts and list down everything you have done. From the medicines, you administered and the tests you ran, ensure that everything is accounted for and documented. Once you have made a habit of reviewing everything, you are less likely to make mistakes when you are exhausted from long shifts. Hence, always double-check everything throughout your shift to decrease the risk of errors, optimize patient care, and be a better nurse.
- Don’t neglect your needs
Caring for other people may come with the job, but caring for yourself is the only way to make it happen. Shifting focus on yourself is not selfish; it only makes you physically and emotionally healthier, which will ultimately help you take better care of others. Self-care makes it easier to get through long, arduous hours at work, making you more capable of performing your tasks well.
Extended work hours and tiring routines can make nurses feel overwhelmed and experience burnout, potentially leading to dangerous mistakes during patient treatment. Hence, if you feel too exhausted, request an early leave to relax, refuel, and not compromise patient care quality.
You may find many challenges in your nursing career, but you can always overcome them with determination and the desire to learn. If you are devoted to becoming a better nurse and improving healthcare, you will be able to do so eventually. Your commitment to keep learning and doing better is your first step toward being a great nurse. Make helping others the core purpose of your work to succeed, and always remember to take care of yourself while taking care of others.