Why Are Nurses So Important in the Healthcare Industry
By Space Coast Daily // January 27, 2021
Now that a new strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was reported and is currently spreading in parts of the world, health workers might feel even more overwhelmed. It’s hard not to feel bleak and hopeless at a time like this.
But just when we think that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there are medical breakthroughs that give us a glimmer of hope. The truth is, this pandemic has drastically affected healthcare’s future trends.
Nurses are precious not just in hospitals or clinics but also vital to the whole community. They have a multitude of responsibilities that benefit patients and other people.
This is why plenty of people who have a passion for caring study Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN. Even though the changing times, nursing is still an attractive study and profession.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that the healthcare industry is struggling through the pandemic. Even without the mutation of the virus, the healthcare industry was already overworked, some even underpaid. When COVID-19 first broke out, there was an outpour of love and support for frontliners but it seems that the advocacy has quieted down.
It is quite saddening that it takes a full-blown pandemic to help everyone realize that health workers are modern-day heroes. Fact is, the importance of nurses in the healthcare industry is sometimes downplayed or overlooked.
Think of it this way: the healthcare industry is like clockwork. Each health worker has a contribution for the whole system to work smoothly. Take away one gear, and the clock stops working. If you remove nurses from the equation, the system will struggle or fall apart. You get the picture.
But this description might be a little abstract, and it’s essential to bring to light the exact reasons why nurses are crucial to the healthcare industry.
Here are the reasons listed below:
Nurses care for patients in every way
Patients require a lot of attention and care. Healthcare facilities worldwide require their nurses to be wholly knowledgeable and trained for all kinds of medical situations. This way, no matter what patients and health care institutions need, nurses are always prepared.
Besides, they also observe and monitor the condition of the patient. This is vital for helping doctors find out what could happen next and prevent any possible complications.
Aside from the physical and medical side, nurses also care for the spiritual wellbeing of patients. Sometimes some patients might feel depressed or nervous. Nurses are there to help lift their spirits or to calm and soothe them. Talking with some parents every day and showing empathizing with their situations is part of being a nurse.
And this is care that isn’t just given because it’s part of your work description. It comes from an innate desire to help others.
Perhaps the downside to being a nurse is how attached you can genuinely get to the patients. But when you see how they’re improving and how you contribute to that process, it’s hard to ignore that heartwarming feeling.
Nurses provide all kinds of help to the patient
Nurses are required to not just help patients with their medical issues. They’re also responsible for assisting patients across the board. This is why nurses are happy to help patients out, even with simple tasks like opening the window.
Because nurses spend so much time with patients, it’s only natural for nurses to want the best for them. Again, this can be because nurses can get attached to patients, but it’s also due to their moral code. The interests of their patients are also their own.
They are graciously working long hours
Working in healthcare is tiring in more ways than one. The shifts can also be quite challenging. However, they know that patients require their help, and so nurses happily carry out their duties despite their exhaustion.
Educating and supporting patients
The reality is, some patients and their families might not be knowledgeable about medical terms and even the treatment they’re getting. Because of this, there might be some trouble with decision making on the patient’s side. Speaking to the patients and their families on their options is the doctors’ job, but nurses, with their knowledge and expertise, can weigh in on it if the patient has any questions later on.
For instance, when COVID-19 first broke out, there was some confusion about it. The main questions were about symptoms and how it could be avoided. Nurses are expected to answer these questions.
But there are certain feelings and opinions that healthcare professionals have about this pandemic that they need to keep to themselves for professionalism, which can be difficult considering how it has made their situations extremely stressful.
Moreover, medical jargon can be confusing for ordinary people. There’s a lot of why’s and how’s if you’re a patient, and sometimes when you have a question, the doctor isn’t there to answer it for you.
Patients might have trouble with their medication or some confusion about their condition. Nurses can help them out by explaining it to them and supporting them whenever they need assistance or encouragement.
Knowledge of patient history
With everything mentioned, nurses know exactly what’s going on with their patients. From their illnesses, treatments, and schedules, to how they like their fruits peeled or how they want their pillows to be fluffed, nurses would know it best. Thus, the nurses are trusted by doctors and are essential when it comes to the overall decision making for the patient’s treatment plans.
Jack of all trades
A nurse’s job is so important because they know a little bit about everything. While doctors have more expertise in specific fields, nurses have some knowledge and understanding in each one.
Nurses outnumber doctors
While patients rely on doctors heavily for accurate diagnoses and treatments, there aren’t enough doctors to give each patient the attention they need around the clock. It’s simple; there are more nurses because doctors need a lot of help caring for patients.
Doctors trust nurses for a reason. They’re fellow professionals who know precisely what they’re doing. They know the lingo, are wholly trained in their field and are familiar with using devices and medicines. Nurses are competent and reliable in their area.
Communicates with patients and other professionals
Again, nurses are trusted by doctors and other professionals working in the medical field. They’re allowed to make suggestions and give their thought about patients. Their expertise is greatly respected because it’s vital for every step in decision-making for the patient’s treatment.
They substitute doctors
This next reason relates to the fact that nurses outnumber doctors. Depending on your nursing education level, you could have specialized fields and be completely capable of primary duties even without supervision from a doctor.
Advanced Practicing Registered Nurses or APRNs are those who have completed their master’s or doctorate programs. They can also prescribe and change plans for the patient. They can give opinions that could affect the treatments and health plans, similar to what doctors can do.
Doing some clinical work
Again, for APRNs, there are more possibilities for additional duties such as being licensed for individual clinical practice. This is great for remote areas where there are no medical facilities at all! An APRN can set up a clinic there and oversee some health services.
Continuously learning and teaching
The medical field is continuously growing and changing. There are different trends, findings, and breakthroughs that a nurse needs to study. Because of this, the learning never stops.
And they’re not only expected to learn it, but they also need to be able to teach it. Again, patients and family members will have questions, and nurses must explain them as clearly as possible.
Quality of care relies on nurses
Healthcare industries have all kinds of processes, and nurses are in the middle of it. They’re not only directly responsible for the care they provide for each patient, but they’re also included in other processes such as appointment setting, admittance, and other procedures.
“Care” is a blanket term for the joint efforts of different health workers. And without nurses involved each step of the way, the care provided wouldn’t be as good.
Reviews and assesses the health of the patient
As assistants to doctors, nurses are there to help evaluate conditions and decide on steps to improve health.
From administering medication, checking blood pressure, changing IVs to other tasks, nurses do all kinds of responsibilities that significantly affect a patient’s health.
Nurses can do research
Nurses can have different specialties, and one of these areas can be researched. They can help out with research in the pharmaceutical area or other fields like bionics of prosthetics.
They carry out their responsibilities even if they’re not at work
Health workers, not just nurses, are responsible for helping out in medical emergencies, even if they’re outside of their workplace. For instance, they need to lend a hand in accidents or other critical medical situations where their expertise is required.
Why are nurses overlooked?
Despite the critical work nurses do, they’re still gravely underappreciated. Nurses could bend over backward to help their patients, and they would be utterly oblivious to it.
It’s easy to overlook nurses because many of the tasks that they do go undetected. Often, doctors get the credit, while nurses are just blank faces in the background. This is because nurses have numerous responsibilities, and they can’t possibly demonstrate every task they have to the patients, the public, and physicians.
While a patient sleeps through the night, nurses are in the halls to ensure all the patients in their building get their scheduled medication. While the wards are quiet and peaceful, the tired nurses walk through the halls, ensuring that all patients are comfortable and tended to.
Plus, a nurse has to present themselves as professionally as possible. Because of this, they can’t appear as emotional as they probably feel deep inside.
For instance, a nurse can feel just as frustrated as the patient and the family, but they know that they need to present themselves differently as a professional. They need to show strength and reliability for them to be depended on and trusted.
Moreover, it’s hard to differentiate one nurse from another. As mentioned, there are so many nurses, and with their uniforms, masks, and sleeked back hair, it’s hard to track which nurse is which. There are so many nurses out there, and it’s hard to get a hold of each one and give them their well-earned “thank you” because they’re always on the go.
Finally, it seems like more people remember nurses for the mistakes that they make. A little humanity works wonders. A nurse works difficult and long shifts, so if they commit some errors, cutting them some slack would be much appreciated.
Their excellent work shouldn’t be overshadowed by a simple and forgivable mistake. Besides, the grave mistake of one nurse shouldn’t be a representation of all of them.
Showing appreciation to nurses
Now that you’re aware of how nurses are underappreciated despite their difficult and valuable contribution to society, there are some things we can do. It’s easy to show a nurse your appreciation. The first one is a simple and sincere “thank you.” These two words only take a second to say, but it can make a big difference.
If you have a bit more to say, you can even write them a note. Patients who have spent some time bonding with their nurses can write letters to show how much they appreciate their care and help.
You might notice a tired or sleepy nurse, offering them a cup of coffee wouldn’t just show them that you care; it also helps them out through their shift!
But the best way you can show them that you are grateful is by doing your best to get better. Eating well, smiling, and being high spirited is an excellent way for your nurse to feel relieved. It shows them that their hard work and efforts are bearing fruit.
If you’ve been a difficult patient for them, try not to make their work any more difficult. Being cranky and making it hard for your nurse to do their job isn’t going to help anyone. Be easy to communicate with and be friendly.
Nurses are valuable not just to the healthcare industry but to society as a whole. From small task to contributing to decision making that could drastically affect a patient, nurses balance expertise and heart. Unfortunately, nurses are underappreciated for various reasons, but it’s never too late to show them that their work is greatly respected and recognized.