Health is a key topic throughout life and something impossible to ignore. This is most obviously seen through the focus many people put on healthy living in their day-to-day existence. By concentrating on things like eating a better diet or exercising more, people can live a fuller, happier life, for example.
Health and fitness are also important around the world in a professional sense. The health sector is a significant employer globally, and this is undoubtedly true in the US, where the industry provides jobs to millions of people. Although this encompasses many crucial roles, nursing is one career in health that remains enduringly popular. Around 3.3 million Registered Nurses (RNs) worked across the US healthcare system in 2022. This article explores their role in improving healthcare further.
Nursing and healthcare: why is this role so key for the sector?
Undoubtedly, nurses are essential in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and community health centers. They provide direct care to patients and help to deliver the best outcomes for them. This importance means nursing always remains an in-demand role that provides reasonable job security. In addition, it is a job that enables people to make a positive impact on the world and their local communities. This feels very satisfying and makes working as a nurse a fulfilling experience.
Although money is not usually the main driver behind this career choice, the competitive salaries on offer across most states are appealing. Nursing is also a role where teamwork is important, and trained nurses often build close bonds and lifelong friendships with colleagues.
How do nurses contribute towards advances in quality across healthcare?
One of the critical parts of any nursing role is patient care. Their direct impact in this area means nurses can contribute effectively towards advances in the quality of patient care across the health industry – but how do they do this?
Senior nurses foster positive change through leadership.
Outstanding leadership is essential within nursing and helps to set a clear direction for nurses to follow while also upholding high-level standards of care to deliver the best patient experience. Nursing leaders use their position to foster advances in healthcare quality. A good example is how they stay up to speed with the latest innovations and trends around patient care. This could be a new technique that allows wounds to be dressed more effectively or a new piece of tech that could enable more accurate monitoring of a patient’s vital signs, for example. By knowing about recent advances like this, nursing leaders can bring this knowledge into their teams to drive up standards of care.
Nursing leaders can also set a good example for their staff to follow in terms of high-quality care and how they engage with patients. This can be something as simple as always dealing with patients in a compassionate way. By setting the right example around the best levels of patient care, leaders can inspire their staff to do the same.
Finally, leaders can help staff access any training they need and make sure they know the latest professional regulations and standards to work from. This also involves monitoring their teams to ensure they work to the highest standards and follow all procedures for top-class care.
Focus on administration
A big part of working in nursing revolves around direct clinical patient care. However, administration is also important and another way professionals in nursing can make a noticeable contribution to the quality of care.
Senior nurses, for example, can ensure any staff rotas are completed on time so their team knows when they are working and remain punctual. They can also ensure rotas are drawn up so the required number of staff are on shift at any one time. This naturally helps advance the quality of care and means that patients can always get the help they need quickly.
On a more fundamental level, an RN may focus on getting the necessary paperwork completed and signed off to discharge a patient. This avoids any frustrating delays for the patient and provides a better experience for them.
Working as a nurse at any level is based on being able to work effectively with a range of healthcare colleagues. While this is most obviously seen when working with fellow nurses in a unit, interprofessional collaboration is also important.
This sees nurses working as part of a team with colleagues from across the health sector (such as physicians, physiotherapists, and mental health counselors) to decide how best to treat a patient. By collaborating, nurses can offer their insights on the best course of action or raise any concerns with any planned treatment. This, in turn, sees them have a direct impact on the quality of care patients receive.
Teaching the next generation of nurses
Although it is easy to focus on how nurses in clinical settings contribute towards higher levels of care, there are other ways it can be achieved. Nurse educators play just as important a role and have a very real influence on any developments in the industry.
Nurse educators train the next generation of nurses and teach them the skills they need to deliver the best care. They are also key for driving home how important high-level care is to students and how crucial it is for students always to be looking to enhance the care patients receive.
Providing this kind of inspiration means that graduates emerge with a commitment to better outcomes. Thus, teaching is one very effective way for trained nurses to impact the quality of patient care moving ahead.
Advanced nursing education is key to better quality care.
By continuing their training and picking up advanced nursing knowledge, industry professionals can more effectively contribute towards better quality care. Although many courses help nurses learn how to improve standards of care in health, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) remains one of the most popular.
But what are these programs about, and how can they help graduates contribute more effectively towards better levels of care across health?
What is a DNP?
Studying for a DNP enables nurses to gain advanced skills, which opens up new opportunities in higher-level leadership positions around the industry. Enrolling in a program like this prepares graduates to lead effectively within healthcare settings, provide education to fellow nurses, and encourage greater levels of collaboration between healthcare colleagues.
The online DNP from Spring Arbor University provides students with the knowledge they need to make their contribution towards quality care in the health sector. As a CCNE-accredited program, it includes modules on key topics for advanced nurses, such as analyzing global health issues to identify new insights for better outcomes and strategic leadership for quality improvement.
But just how can this program enable graduates to have their impact on better care across health specifically?
Advanced knowledge is key.
The DNP can help advance patient care levels by assisting nurses in staying abreast of the latest trends in patient care. The program represents an effective way for senior nurses to learn about the latest developments in this area.
This is because advanced courses focus on how senior nurses can lead teams or facilities better, take care of administrative tasks effectively to improve care levels, and incorporate the latest techniques or ideas to improve outcomes. For example, students may learn about various healthcare policies from around the world, studying how they are structured to deliver higher levels of care. They can then use this knowledge in their role to develop patient-focused policies and intent on providing even better experiences.
Students who gain their DNP are also ideally placed to educate their team on why continually striving to improve the quality of care is essential, the benefits it can bring, and how best to go about it. For example, this can be very useful if a nurse is stuck on how best to streamline the ordering of supplies, and means a senior colleague who holds a doctorate can advise on how best to go about it.
Expansion of professional network
Completing a DNP is a very effective way for nurses to expand their professional network. This is achieved through not only connecting with other students on the course but also with tutors and placement preceptors. By finding ways to grow their network in this way, nurses have a much larger group of people to rely on for trusted advice.
While this can be highly beneficial when looking for new career opportunities in nursing, an enlarged professional network is also useful for helping nurses make their contributions toward high-quality care. For example, DNP students can call on this network when stuck on how to inspire their team to deliver better care or when they are out of ideas on where to find the latest health news. Although these are two examples, they show how the more extensive professional network of students with a DNP experience can help facilitate their efforts to improve the quality of care in health.
Clinical hours and teamwork
One major part of any nursing degree will be the clinical hours that students must get under their belt before passing the course. This sees students heading out on clinical placements to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice. This is highly beneficial when it comes to DNPs helping nurses ramp up the quality of care in teams throughout health settings.
DNP clinical placements give students direct experience of working at advanced levels and enable them to see where the provision of care may be falling short. They also allow students to pick up on best practices for patient care and see how senior figures in the sector can drive advancements in this area. They can then bring this knowledge to their current and future roles, allowing them to make a tangible impact on the care patients receive.
Another important part of both DNP programs and the clinical placements they include is teamwork. This includes working on a group project during studies or working as part of a healthcare team when out on placement. These experiences give students the chance to develop their teamwork skills in real-life settings and with a variety of healthcare professionals. As a result, they are in a much better position post-graduation to engage in positive interprofessional collaboration and make suggestions in teams on how best to improve the quality of care.
Quality of care in nursing is constantly advancing.
Although nursing as a sector has many aims, the quest to deliver the highest quality of care is always most important. This is something that nurses can do in their working lives once qualified, and this is undoubtedly something that continued professional education can aid.
Deciding to continue nursing studies qualifies an RN with the advanced skills to move into positions where they have more of a direct impact on the quality of care. A DNP is one program that is worth considering and can help facilitate nursing professionals in their efforts to boost patient outcomes.