How professional development in nursing advances patient care and nursing science
Nursing science is a multidimensional field that involves implementing knowledge and expertise to enhance patient welfare, promote health education and prevent diseases. Nursing science forms the backbone of the nursing profession, guiding nurses in their daily activities and molding the trajectory of medical healthcare.
The profession evolves as newer knowledge and a more complete understanding of health and diseases evolves. This is why professional practices must evolve as well and why prestigious institutions offer several programs for nurses looking to advance in their careers. One excellent program is the Baylor University Online Doctor of Nursing Practice – Executive Nurse Leadership program which prepares students for positions in nursing leadership. Offered entirely online, this program helps students develop advanced business acumen while creating a network of colleagues and mentors.
There are several vital strategies that are employed to help improve patient care; this article will discuss three of these strategies.
Three vital approaches to improving nursing science
Nurses employ evidence-based practice (EBP), quality improvement (QI) and interdisciplinary collaboration to enhance patient care and advance nursing science. These concepts work together to improve the healthcare system in the following ways:
- Evidence-based practice (EBP)
Evidence-based practice is a systematic process where healthcare providers integrate recent research with their clinical experience to make informed decisions about patient care. Utilizing this practice helps nurses ensure that they deliver optimal and up to date care that is grounded in scientific research.
To achieve this goal, nurses must actively stay abreast of contemporary literature and participate in conferences and workshops related to their fields of expertise. This way, they can significantly improve their decision-making capacity when evaluating treatment strategies for their patients.
Ultimately, this helps nurses provide exceptional care. For instance, a nurse might consult several research articles on the effectiveness of various wound techniques before deciding on the best method to use for a specific patient. The goal is to obtain the best result possible.
- Quality improvement (QI)
Quality improvement is a process of consistently assessing and optimizing patient care outcomes. QI efforts are led by nurses, who identify opportunities for improvement, introduce modifications and examine the results using tools such as Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles and root cause analysis.
Using this approach, if a hospital has a high rate of patient falls despite appropriate infrastructure, nursing staff might establish a QI project to identify the causes behind the frequent falls, develop preventive measures to address these issues and monitor the effectiveness of these strategies.
- Interdisciplinary collaboration
Interdisciplinary collaboration in the healthcare sector involves various medical professionals within different disciplines coming together to give their patients individualized care. Nurses actively engage in multidisciplinary teamwork, cooperating with physicians, therapists, pharmacists and other healthcare providers to establish comprehensive patient-centric care plans.
A classic example of interdisciplinary collaboration involves a patient with several chronic ailments. In this case, the care team might include a nurse, primary care physician, cardiologist, dietician and pharmacist, all working together to devise an integrated treatment plan customized to meet the patient’s needs.
EBP, QI and interdisciplinary collaboration are practical approaches to enhance patient care and strengthen the efficacy of nurses. Integrating research into practice, persistently assessing and improving care techniques and fostering cooperation with other healthcare professionals can also help optimize patient outcomes.
Tips for implementing EBP, QI and interdisciplinary coordination
Now that you know why nursing professionals incorporate EBP, QI and interdisciplinary collaboration to improve patient care, how do they achieve this feat? Below are some vital tips for successfully implementing these strategies:
- Stay up to date with scientific research
Nurses must read scientific literature and attend conferences and workshops to ensure they have the most current knowledge to inform their practice. This is because they are responsible for providing optimum patient care, and they can only be aware of new practices through lifelong learning. This helps them deliver quality care that adheres to cutting-edge standards and provides the most effective care possible.
- Clinical decision-making
Evidence-based practice is a vital part of making effective decisions in the nursing profession. Nurses that integrate research findings and clinical expertise are more likely to make better decisions that’ll improve patient outcomes.
A nurse treating a COPD patient who is experiencing worse symptoms despite their current treatment plan must review recent research, consider the patient’s history and consult other healthcare teams. By staying up to date with research and understanding the clinical evidence, the nurse will be able to adjust the patient’s treatment to include new practices to improve their health.
- Interprofessional communication
Nurses must maintain open lines of communication between all team members to ensure everyone is working towards giving patients the best possible care. This could be communication with surgical experts, pharmacists and other experts relevant to the patient’s illness. This collaboration makes sharing information easier, which increases the chances of success for the patient.
- Identify areas for improvement
Nurses actively evaluate their practice to identify areas that can be improved, which is essential for enhancing the quality of patient care. By seeking out and addressing gaps in their work, they can initiate quality improvement efforts to refine and optimize their practice. Committing to continuous improvement ensures that nurses deliver the highest quality care possible.
- Develop and implement changes
Healthcare professionals must identify and address problems to improve patient outcomes. They can do this by developing and implementing evidence-based interventions, which shows willingness to change. This helps to change and adapt their practice style based on evidence to deliver more effective care, resulting in better patient outcomes.
- Monitor and evaluate outcomes
Nurses must always take a step back to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of their interventions. This helps to assess their effectiveness and identify more opportunities for improvement. This process also helps nurses determine whether their interventions are working as intended so they can make adjustments where necessary.
- Participate in research
Reading existing research is excellent, but participating in research is better. Whether conducting personal studies or collaborating with other researchers, a nurse’s participation dramatically contributes to advancing nursing science as their discoveries can improve practices and interventions in patient care.
Professional development in nursing plays an integral role in enhancing patient care and advancing nursing science. The requirements for patient health are evolving and expectations are higher than ever since COVID-19. The onus is on nurses to commit to research, quality control and collaboration with other professionals to achieve mutually beneficial results.