Where would we be without nurses?
[5 MIN READ]
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May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and Providence is celebrating the many people who provide outstanding care for patients in our hospitals and clinics and at home.
According to the American Nurses Association, there are more than 4 million registered nurses in the U.S. today, but there is still a shortage of nurses.
Nurses focus on very specific core principles when caring for their patients: assessments, diagnosis, outcomes and planning, implementation and evaluation.
In March 2020, many people in the United States stayed home, afraid of contracting COVID-19. Unless they had an emergency, they stayed as far away from hospitals and doctors’ offices as they could.
Not nurses. The nursing workforce showed up for work every day, faithfully wearing personal protective equipment and caring for the most vulnerable. They were the frontline heroes of our worldwide pandemic.
Now, three years later, the world of nursing has changed much. Yes, some nurses have decided to leave the profession, but those who stayed have learned they can face anything. During National Nurses Week 2023, Providence would like to honor all the hard-working nurses who care for our patients day and night. They are truly the heroes of the health care industry.
How nurses do their work
According to the American Nurses Association, there are more than 4 million registered nurses in the U.S. today — which means that one in every 100 people is a registered nurse. Nurses’ roles range from licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who provide basic and routine care; to registered nurses (RNs), who perform physical examinations, administer medications and coordinate patients’ care; to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners, who hold at least a master’s degree and treat and diagnose illnesses, acting as a primary care provider for many patients.
Nurses rely on evidence-based practices and follow very specific steps with each of their patients. Those steps include:
Assessments – RNs routinely gather not only physical information about their patients’ conditions, but also psychological, spiritual and economic data. They are the caregivers who are most likely to notice if a patient appears to be depressed or is experiencing a negative reaction to pain medication.
Diagnosis – When RNs make a diagnosis, they share a clinical judgment based on the information they have gathered about the patient. That diagnosis reflects a patient’s pain as well as the effect it has had on their life.
Outcomes and planning – Based on the assessment and diagnosis, the nurse sets measurable goals for the patient, such as walking at least once a day or moving from a sitting to a standing position with assistance three times a day.
Implementation – Nurses carefully implement care according to the plan they created, and document it in the patient’s record.
Evaluation – Not only do individual nurses evaluate the impact of their care on each patient, but Providence as a whole is continuously using data to improve its care and its patients’ well-being.
Where nurses do their work
There are many different environments in which nurses care for their patients — and since the pandemic began, there have been even more opportunities to expand those patient care environments, such as telehealth. Here, we highlight three of the main ways nurses at Providence provide the highest quality of care.
In the hospital
When you think about the history of nursing, you may picture women in crisp pinafores and white caps. Today, however, the nursing profession in the U.S. is made up of people of different genders, races and sexual orientations who wear the clothing that will best allow them to perform their important role — scrubs, which are sanitary uniforms that keep cross-contamination to a minimum.
While doctors, therapists and other providers direct patients’ care while they’re in the hospital, bedside nurses are the ones who are there around the clock. Nurses make sure patients receive the correct medications, help them manage daily functions safely and watch their condition to report on any changes.
Providence offers many different options for home health services, which can help patients who:
- Have recently been hospitalized and need a lower level of continued care.
- Require help with their medications.
- Have a new or chronic condition or wound that requires specialized care.
- Need specific therapies such as intravenous medications or gastric feeding.
Nurses provide the compassionate care that their patients need, within the comfort of their own homes.
In the clinic
Nurses provide a consistent presence for patients who are seeing their provider in a clinic. They maintain and update patient records, administer immunizations and focus on providing preventive care across many different specialties and advocating for their patients.
It’s clear that nursing has evolved over the years, but one aspect of the profession has remained the same for decades: Nurses truly care about giving their patients the best nursing care possible. Thank you, Providence nurses, for everything you do!
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.