What Do Nurses Really Do?
The University of Southern Mississippi College of Nursing
Over the years, the question of what nurses really do on a daily basis has confounded not only the general public, but also those who work in the healthcare field. However, one cannot attempt to explain what nurses do on a daily basis without first understanding what nursing is and why the healthcare field even exists. The field of nursing exists primarily to assist the physicians and to facilitate the recovery of ill, weak patients. Nurses exist to show each patient compassion, so the patient will feel welcome, and not like a burden onto others. It is the nurses’ obligation to possess the knowledge necessary to ensure and facilitate the patients’ health and healing process.
According to Suzanne Gordon (2006), “Nurses use their considerable knowledge to protect patients from the risks and consequences of illness, disability, and infirmity, as well as from the risks and consequences of the treatment of illness. They also protect patients from the risks that occur when illness and vulnerability make it difficult, impossible, or even lethal for patients to perform the activities of daily living” (p. 1). Gordon’s personal thoughts on what nurses do basically wraps the nurse’s duties into a nut-shell. Although her statement is quite vague, with no clear-cut answer to what nurses actually do daily, one gets an idea of the overall role of the nurse in the healthcare environment and, more importantly, to the patient. Even some of the most obvious roles of the nurses, such as building a relationship with the family, has a positive impact on the patients’ health and the family’s coping with a loved ones’ illness. The main idea in Gordon’s belief of what nurses really do is protection. Everyday a nurse’s main goal is to protect the patient from existing and future complications of illness and disease. Patients realize this and tend to develop a close, trustworthy relationship with the nurse because the nurses is usually the first person to interact with the patient while he or she is going through a health crisis. For example, the nurse is the first one who come to the patient’s rescue when he or she slips and falls while trying to go to the restroom. “Nurses save lives, prevent complications, prevent suffering, and save money” (Gordon, 2006).
The Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) is a project with intentions to meet the difficulties of preparing nurses who have the overall knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KAS) needed to continuously enhance the quality and safety of the healthcare systems in which they work. The Quality and Safety in Nursing establish six nursing competencies and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to successfully achieve each competency must be addressed in pre-licensure programs. These six competencies include patient-centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety, and informatics. Each competency has distinct knowledge, skills, and attitudes that, when fulfilled, work together to ensure proper patient safety and health.
Patient-centered care is the act of acknowledging that the patient is the source of control and exists as a full partner in delivering organized and compassionate care centered on respect for the patient’s preferences, values, and needs. Patient- centered care lays down a foundation for the special relationship between the patient, the family, and the healthcare providers. “The care provider-patient relationship is one in which the care provider consistently maintains the patient and family as his or her central focus. The care provider knows that each person’s unique life story determines how he or she will experience an illness. The care provider conveys and unwavering respect and person concern for the patient, strives to understand what is most important to this particular patient and family,...
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Gordon, S. (2006). What Do Nurses Really Do? Topics in Advanced Pratice Nursing EJournal, 6(1), 1-5. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
Johnson, J. (n.d.). Health informatics competency resource paper. AACN, QSEN Informatics, 1-24.
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