Contribution to Safe Practice Sample Paper
Safe practice contributes to enhanced patient satisfaction and better patient experience, that in turn culminate in improved patient outcomes. Nurses are in more direct contact with patients than physicians, medical officers and other healthcare team members, owing to the more time they spend with patients. Consequently, nurses play a vital role in ensuring adherence to safe practice within healthcare settings, hence the need for comprehensive practice knowledge in an ever-evolving nursing work setting. This discussion explores nurses’ role in patient advocacy from both policy and stakeholder perspectives.
How to Contribute to Safe Practice
Nurses contribute towards safe practice via different ways. Their role in ensuring patient safety include monitoring patients for clinical deterioration, evaluating care processes and inherent weaknesses in some systems, identifying medication errors and misses, and identifying errors and misses within the practice and continuous survey of the patient to ensure high-quality care (Vanhook et al., 2018). Other actions that could improve patient outcomes include engaging in professional development activities, such as upgrading the educational level. In my opinion, at least possessing a bachelor’s degree equips the nurse with required skills that would translate to improved patient care and higher levels of patient satisfaction. Pursuing a Masters’ degree or even a PhD would expose the nurse to more scholarly literature and professional experience, ultimately culminating in more effective skills in patient care.
Besides having a higher educational qualification, the quality of the training may contribute significantly to patient safety. In this perspective, nurses may develop a standardized transitional process towards the independence practice training, similarly to the medical residents. The lack of a standardized transition, according to Birks et al. (2019), translates to inadequate training and mentorship in handling intricate clinical scenarios and systems shortfalls. I could approach a physician in a level five hospital and request to train by his/her side, enabling learning by apprenticeship. Since physicians are widely-experienced in majority of the patient care guidelines, clinical scenarios and recent practice advances, training beside them would be instrumental to boosting my skills and enhancing my quality of training.
Further, preventing burn out would remarkably contribute to patient safety. It is possible to avoid burn out at a personal level by ensuring plenty of rest when away from work, particularly the recommended six-hours-sleep for working professionals. Higher levels of burn out among nurses are associated with increased incidences of clinical errors, which would result in the nurse being prosecuted for crime.
Future Role Changes Resulting from Policy Changes
Advancing the education and training of nurses is a major step towards improving patient care. However, multiple challenges, Nonetheless, including, but not limited to, regulatory barriers that impede expansion of nursing scope of practice, health care system fragmentation, professional resistance to expanded roles for nurses, insurance policies inconsistent with current practice, challenges faced during transitioning to practice and demographic challenges can hamper the success of this approach (Birks et al., 2019). Thus future role changing would require mitigation of the afore-mentioned barriers to improve nurses’ education and training.
As mentioned, there is need to expand the nursing scope of practice to incorporate deeper theoretical grounding in the principles of patient management. Presently, nurses’ training is less intensive in pathophysiological and pharmacologic concepts compared to that of medical officers, clinical officers or physicians. Policies should transform this to incorporate deeper theoretical grounding for nurses that would result in higher-quality care (Padilha, Sousa & Pereira, 2018). Also, the policies could include keeping the nurses abreast with latest technological advances in patient care, especially electronic health records management and e-health.
Equally important is the need to increase the nurse-to-patient ratio to promote patient safety. Burn out is a major outcome of a high patients to nurses ratio, which lessens the quality of care. Policies governing nurses’ education could be reviewed to promote training of larger numbers of nurses in medical schools (Chicca & Shellenbarger, 2018). Additionally, student nurses should be able to access such incentives as government grants and part or full sponsorships to promote positive attitude towards the training. The approach would also contribute to increased numbers of nursing students, particularly individuals from financially challenged backgrounds that may find it difficult to pay the high fees in medical schools.
Roles of a Registered Nurse
The roles of a registered nurse are diverse, owing to the constantly emerging innovations and updates to existent practices. The common roles include administering medication while monitoring for side effects and reactions, recording and updating patient vital signs and medical information, maintaining detailed and accurate reports, and consulting and coordinating with other healthcare team plan members and educating patients and family members on care plans and treatments (Padhila, Sousa & Pereira, 2018). Emerging roles would include keeping abreast with upcoming technology and tools to assist provision of best care to patients and best support to other care providers.
Besides, I would engage in workshops and seminars involving incorporation of electronic health records and application of e-health to patient care. Skills attained in the mentioned events would be instrumental in recording and updating patient vital signs and medical information while maintaining accurate and detailed records. As Tubaishat (2018) observes, the importance of electronic health records in maintaining key patient information and availing it to the relevant parties is instrumental to contemporary nursing care goals. Electronic health records are less bulky as compared to traditional files, more resistant to errors owing to software that detects inconsistencies and alerts the care giver; and are more easily accessible, due to their versatility and ability to be shared with minimal effort.
Applying e-health in my practice would be resourceful in manifold manners. For starters, multiple health applications and websites allow patient access to healthcare from remote locations, easing the traditional physical consultation process that was more financially and timely constraining (Tubaishat, 2018). Remote accessibility of healthcare has provided emergency care services to critical patients, thereby reducing mortality from previously fatal complications. For instance, a patient with an acute asthmatic exacerbation could get appropriate instructions on how to manage the condition before he/she presents at a health facility, lessening the risks of complications that would otherwise ensue.
Furthermore, e-health has eased the consultation process for healthcare providers as they could access their patients from the comfort of their homes and offices without requiring actual physical presence. In the current coronavirus pandemic, avoiding physical consultations has reduced the likelihood of physicians, nurses and other care providers from getting infected with the flu.
RN Roles in Advocating for Healthcare Consumer
The role of a registered nurse in advocating for the healthcare consumer is integral to contemporary nursing practice. To begin with, the nurse could team up with colleague nurses, physicians, nutritionists, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other personnel involved in patient care to keep abreast with latest advancements in electronic health records and e-health (Park & Yu, 2018). Since electronic health records is the future of patient care, adequate skills and competence in their application would be instrumental to enhancing safe practice among health professionals. One can easily attain proficiency in electronic health records and e-health applications via holding seminars, conferences and workshops offering training on the technology.
Insurance policies that are inconsistent with current practice are another limitation to nursing safe practice. The insurance policies are inconsistent due to being out-of-date with the actual world patient experience (Sommers, Gawande & Baicker, 2017). Whereas MediCare and MedicAid have prospective benefits for the middle-class Americans, they harbor minimal advantages to persons from the lowest socioeconomic class. Nurses could advocate for better insurance policies that favor medical insurance acquisition by poor persons (Vanhook et al., 2018). This objective would be achievable via collaborating with other health personnel, hospital management and insurance companies to devise more affordable insurance plans.
Another fact worth noting is the need to increase the scope of nursing practice to meet more patient needs. Whereas physicians and medical officers are responsible for handling majority of patient needs, they significantly spend less time with patients compared to nurses. According to Park and Yu (2018), while the former engages in reasoning to devise appropriate diagnosis and management for the patient, nurses come with an appropriate care plan to suit the patient needs. Nevertheless, increasing the scope of training for nurses would equip them with the requisite skills in handling the patient even in the absence of direct supervision by medical officers or physicians.
The role of nurses in ensuring adherence to safe practice cannot be overemphasized. The duties of nurses vary from providing accurate and detailed patient information, administering medication, and monitoring for adverse effects to identifying errors within existent systems. Additionally, nurses engage in professional development activities and advocate for appropriate policy reforms and keeping abreast with the latest practices and technological innovations. Consequently, to keep abreast with developments in the nursing care delivery profession, nurses must embrace continual learning, more so with the goal of enhancing their knowledge and competency in using technology in care delivery.
- Birks, M., Davis, J., Smithson, J., & Lindsay, D. (2019). Enablers and barriers to registered nurses expanding their scope of practice in Australia: a cross-sectional study. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 20(3), 145-152. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1527154419864176
- Chicca, J., & Shellenbarger, T. (2018). Generation Z: approaches and teaching–learning practices for nursing professional development practitioners. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 34(5), 250-256. https://journals.lww.com/jnsdonline/Citation/2018/09000/Generation_Z__Approaches_and_Teaching_Learning.3.aspx
- Padilha, J. M., Sousa, P. A. F., & Pereira, F. M. S. (2018). Nursing clinical practice changes to improve self‐management in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. International Nursing Review, 65(1), 122-130. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/inr.12366
- Park, H., & Yu, S. (2018). Policy issues in simulation-based nursing education and technology development. Health Policy and Technology, 7(3), 318-321. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211883718301503
- Sommers, B. D., Gawande, A. A., & Baicker, K. (2017). Health insurance coverage and health—what the recent evidence tells us. The New England Journal of Medicine, 377(6), 586-593. http://medicine.tums.ac.ir/filegallery/2299016929/nezamoleslami%2031%20ordibehesht.pdf
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- Vanhook, P., Bosse, J., Flinter, M., Poghosyan, L., Dunphy, L., & Barksdale, D. (2018). The American Academy of Nursing on policy: Emerging role of baccalaureate registered nurses in primary care (August 20, 2018). Nursing Outlook, 66(5), 512-517. https://www.nursingoutlook.org/article/S0029-6554(18)30506-2/abstract