While in the past, the role of nurses and the healthcare support team was limited to providing some hospital services, administering medications, and primary patient care, over time it has become more complex and has yielded better results. Nursing specializations have varied worldwide in line with the new concept of the nurse’s role and the social and familial environment surrounding the patient. Nursing programs registered in Bachelor of Science degrees require a higher level of clinical practice, with evidence-based research, critical thinking, and scientific knowledge required to provide healthcare. The healthcare support team must also acquire more profound medical equipment and technology knowledge. However, humanistic care remains fundamental.”
The “Merriam-Webster” dictionary defines care as “feeling for others, showing interest in them, or gentleness with them.” This care is considered an essential part of nursing, and studies have shown that it is vital in speeding up recovery and increasing patient satisfaction. Patient care is not limited to the medical side of nursing alone. Patients may suffer from pressures due to their physical
or psychological health status, procedures, surgeries, or recovery. Therefore, nurses must address the patient’s psychological needs and physical illnesses.
When nurses or the medical team show empathy, they promote a positive and beneficial collaborative relationship with patients, which can help remove the causes, symptoms, or interpretations that lead to proper diagnosis and treatment. Open communication and mutual respect between nurses and their patients can lead to many positive outcomes for patients, including shorter hospital stays, pain relief, reduced anxiety, and a positive outlook for early recovery, among other beneficial outcomes.
Targeted behaviors and consequences
Before the nurse even arrives at the hospital, nursing schools and healthcare institutions work to develop and adopt a new approach to care based on human values and psychological care for the patient. They cooperate with hospitals to teach the necessary skills to communicate effectively with patients. Here are some of the ways nurses are asked to adopt to achieve desired recovery outcomes, including a constant smile and signs of satisfaction, implying that everything is okay, greeting the patient by name, sitting on a chair next to the patient when talking to them, listening attentively without interrupting, asking the patient what they need and meeting those demands when possible, and always reassuring them about their health and recovery.
Specific elements of care have been shown to be important through practice, such as commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and trust. These five elements are considered helpful in improving relationships between coworkers and patients and increasing a nurse’s chances of advancing in their career. Conscience and compassion, for example, are directly related to providing the best possible care for patients in a responsible and ethically considerate way. Nurses must always be aware of how they want to treat their patients if the situation changes.
According to Dr. Jean Watson, medical service revolves around building a “real care relationship” and maintaining it. The personal care relationship is characterized by the nurse’s ethical commitment to communicating with patients, while the care process provides nurses with the appropriate time to promote their health and personal satisfaction. In addition, nurses must be present and supportive of the patient’s feelings without crossing the boundaries of the close personal relationship.
Rosemary Thweatt, the Director of Education at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, United States, says, “There are valid reasons based on experience for teaching nursing students the importance of the theoretical concepts of compassionate and courteous care for patients. We want to achieve the highest level of professionalism and respect for healthcare workers’ roles to provide high-quality and compassionate care. Therefore, nurses must overcome personal biases and prejudices and always be prepared to make a conscious effort to treat patients humanely. Patients’ dignity should never be compromised.” Therefore, this concept has been introduced into nursing education and preparation programs.
Healthcare with a new concept
Experiments have shown that patient-centered care aims to achieve maximum safety, value, comfort, and support. These concepts have become fundamental pillars in building a new healthcare concept and achieving proper recovery quickly. Taking into consideration their medical conditions, patients should be involved in all types of clinical decisions. Listening to patients, informing them, and involving them in their care yields results beyond doubt. Therefore, nursing schools now aim to provide patient-centered healthcare programs and care that respects individual preferences and responds to personal needs and values.
The rationale behind making healthcare services so closely linked to patients is that every patient is different and deserves to have their various needs met and preferences respected. This is reflected by healthcare providers customizing environments to make them comfortable for each individual. For example, one patient may want to relax in a cool room, while another prefers a warm room. This personalized care and the preservation of dignity, respect, and cultural values represent an essential and fundamental part of the decision-making process.
Healthcare institutions do not only provide care but also offer treatment, collaboration, and long-term relationships. Therefore, patient-centered healthcare programs not only focus on providing internal care quality and consistency but also emphasize educating patients to care for themselves after leaving the hospital. To provide this service, procedures, and policies must be adopted by healthcare providers before the patient is discharged, and this is where the role of the nurse lies in sharing understandable advice and valuable information regarding dietary restrictions, medications, and physical warning signs.
In an environment that focuses on the patient, it is important to ensure that all care team members are constantly aware of the patient’s condition, care plan, and any problem that may arise. This requires always informing and involving patients in the decision-making process without compromising the issue of confidentiality in some special cases where discussing the patient’s health status with family members may be more appropriate. This is within the scope of the theory of the importance of the patient’s environment, as families play a practical and emotional role in speeding up the recovery process.
Patients’ families and friends are considered essential to the care team because they enhance the patient’s healing process. They can provide emotional, physical, and psychological support to patients, help them understand doctors’ instructions, and ask relevant questions aftercare. Some hospitals ask patients to bring family members to participate in the healthcare experience with them. This is because many patients often fail to hear or process information accurately when in fear, pain, and discomfort. Encouraging friends and family to participate in the patient-centered care process requires hospitals to provide accommodation, involve them in decision-making, and acknowledge family members as care providers.
(Continued: The importance of family care in health recovery)