Why Are Nurses So Crucial to the Healthcare System?

Posted by on April 9, 2021 in Careers with 0 Comments

According to research, there are 20.7 million nurses in the world. That means there are 5 million more nurses than doctors. This fact makes nurses the most prominent working class within the medical field. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare sector.

Furthermore, nurses are some of the most trusted medical professionals within the medical industry. But, initially, the situation was different.

The Evolution of Nursing:

Nurses have been working tirelessly for the past two thousand years to improve the lives of people. However, people did not appreciate the work of nurses. It was not until the 1800s when this began to change. The tireless work of Florence Nightingale was seminal in changing the fate of nurses around the world. The Lady of the Lamp lobbied for better working conditions and a prominent role for nurses within medicine. By the early 1900s, there was a lot of progress in the sector. Many nurses received practical training within hospitals, and educational institutes introduced short courses on the subject.

It wasn’t long before the education and role of nurses changed considerably. Soon, having an undergraduate degree in nursing became a prerequisite for working within the field. With time, advanced degrees in nursing became the standard. Currently, several nursing roles require advanced degrees and training. Indeed, this push towards better credentials within the division will result in a highly trained workforce. Some organizations predict that the area will see 80% of its nursing workforce becoming BSN-MSN educated. This change is due to the complex demands of the sector and the growing demand for more nurses. Resultantly, the BSN to MSN online program has become popular amongst nurses.

The role of nurses in healthcare:

Nurses are far from mere assistants to doctors and physicians. They are respected members of the medical community. However, that respect is hard-won through decades of lobbying and activism. Nurses of today have a much broader role within the sector. They have greater responsibilities and a lot of autonomy to make decisions for their patients. So, they may be the first ones to discover problems and notify others. Furthermore, they may even act to stabilize the patients before the attending physician can reach them.

And as the world moves towards a value-based approach towards healthcare, we will need more interprofessional collaboration. Therefore, nurses play a vital role within the sector. We should look at what they do and how they help other practitioners do their work.

They improve public health:

Public health is about minimizing the impact of illness and promoting health. Public health is the responsibility of the collective community, and nurses are a fundamental part of it. Health education is necessary to improve community health, and nurses are a vital part of health care programs. They get in touch with at-risk and vulnerable populations to improve their conditions. Since the rural population does not have access to healthcare, nurses reach these individuals by traveling hundreds of miles to make house calls.

They educate people at schools, community groups, and other groups on the fundamentals of proper nutrition and preventive care. They also educate people about the facilities and health care programs to improve access to care.

Nurses spend the most time with patients:

In the modern healthcare sector, patients spend the most time with nurses. They are probably the first people who come in contact with patients. They try to put the patients at ease by making small talk. Furthermore, they are in charge of monitoring your vitals. According to a recent study, intensive care patients spend 86% of their time with nurses. Comparatively, physicians spend only 13% of the time with patients.

Nurses and patient safety:

Nurses have a fundamental role in patient safety. They prevent patient falls and patient injuries through regular rounds and checkups. Nurses are a constant presence at the bedside of patients, and they monitor the patients for any signs of deterioration. They are the first ones who detect errors and ensure that individuals receive quality care. Nurses also prevent errors in medication. They are the prime communication link within the healthcare settings as they help doctors understand the condition. Studies show a direct ratio between nurse staffing and the risk of patient mortality.

Nurses dedicate most of their time to assessing the condition of the patients and updating their records accordingly. Then they communicate the relevant information to the rest of the care team that includes physicians and doctors.

Nurses as patient advocates:

The medical world is moving towards a patient-centric approach to healthcare. Therefore, patient advocacy is a vital pillar of the modern healthcare system. Nurses have unique insights into the needs and wants of their patients. So, they are necessary advocates for them. Not only can they talk to the patient’s family members, but they can also ensure that the medication and diagnosis are effective. Nurses also help patients navigate the confusing world of insurance. They also educate them about their programs and insurance policies.

Conclusion:

Nurses are technical experts, educators, and counselors. They provide patients and their families invaluable emotional support during a traumatic time. Therefore, nursing is a true calling. It requires grit, dedication, and perseverance. Most nurses spend 12 hours per day on their feet. Often they have to work through the holidays and work in challenging situations. It is unfair to label them as “just nurses.” They are modern-day heroes who put their lives on the line for others.

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