Healthcare systems were initially designed for the sole purpose of treating diseases rather than as a means of preventing them. However, the healthcare system has evolved due to the spread of diseases and the lack of cures for others. The saying “prevention is better than cure” has become the principle of modern healthcare in the contemporary world, thus making prevention a more critical aspect of promoting health.
In this regard, nurses play a pivotal role in preventive healthcare by utilizing evidence-based research, coupled with recommendations so that patients can get high-quality healthcare services. In other words, nurses are the main catalysts toward patients’ healthy living through education, counseling, screenings and medications.
This article focuses on the importance of nurses and how they can promote healthy development and wellness in patients.
Importance of nurses in healthcare
Nurses act as the main pillars of modern-day medical infrastructure. They also play an essential role in the care of patients and addicts at recovery centers, and if, by any chance, you have been sick, it is most likely that the first person who attended to you was a nurse. This is because nurses operate in all departments of any healthcare facility. From outpatient services, first aid, record management and surgery, among other departments, you’ll find a nurse.
Also, nurses act as the first line of defense for healthcare facilities in times of crisis. All this shows the importance of nurses in healthcare, and, without them, no healthcare facility would function.
For this reason, nursing has grown by leaps and bounds to become an integral part of the healthcare industry.
Read on to discover ways in which nurses promote wellness among patients.
There are three main categories of preventing diseases:
- Primary: These are measures nurses or healthcare providers take to prevent the spread of a particular disease. For instance, nurses encourage the masses to embrace positive behaviors, such as immunization, weight management, the importance of regular screening and drug cessation.
- Secondary: Screenings and other regular care methods are conducted to identify patients or individuals with high disease risk factors.
- Tertiary: This involves creating a care plan for patients for existing diseases to prevent future complications.
Nurses are involved in all the categories mentioned above to promote healthy lifestyles among individuals in society. To ensure that the masses are free from contacting diseases, nurses do the following:
- Guide patients by conducting outreach programs
- Assist patients who are visiting a healthcare facility
- Lay emphasis on how patients can prevent themselves from contracting diseases
- Stress the importance of living healthy lifestyles
Examples of how nurses prevent diseases from spreading
At the helm of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses played a pivotal role in ensuring that the masses observed the necessary precautions that relevant agencies laid out to prevent the spread of the virus. They also confirmed that infected patients adhered to medical advisories.
Another example is nurses in India who helped eradicate polio and smallpox from a population of more than a billion people. Despite the risks and societal pressures, the nurses were able to immunize millions of children against smallpox and polio in the country.
Promoting health through education
A nurse’s job also entails educating patients about healthy lifestyles. As a result, patients can enhance their health status by engaging in interventions that result in positive health outcomes.
As previously stated, the nurse is the first healthcare professional who is most likely to attend to patients visiting a healthcare facility. Retrospectively, a patient’s education commences at this point until they’re discharged. Throughout a patient’s stay at a healthcare facility, nurses take every opportunity to educate the patient on the importance of self-care.
Depending on the patient’s illness, a patient may learn how to inject insulin, while a new mother may learn how to bathe a newborn. The list goes on and on, but, on the flip side, a patient may relapse and resume unhealthy habits if proper education is lacking. For effective teaching to occur, nurses ought to emphasize the following:
- The importance of self-care
- Self-care procedures that particular patients ought to consider
- Ways of recognizing warning signs
- What steps to take if a problem occurs
- In case of any arising questions, whom to contact
An example of a healthcare education intervention
San Luis healthcare facility recently offered educational sessions on tackling opioid abuse through its Naloxone Education Empowerment distribution program.
Benefits of educating patients
- Patients understand the necessary precautions for preventing chronic diseases.
- In case of surgery or operation, patients are informed about the procedures and what to expect during recovery.
- Educating patients reduces the number of patients who seek readmission.
- Educating patients promotes independence through self-sufficiency learning methods.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of nursing vacancies in the country will likely increase by 6% by 2031. Therefore, nursing is an excellent and promising career choice, especially for those who want to exercise patient care.
However, for nurses to positively impact patients’ well-being, they should work hands-on with patients daily; hence, a nursing career is only a profession for some. A qualified nurse must be well-versed in safety, medication, diet and nutrition.
For a career in nursing, an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program from Saint Joseph College of Maine is the right place to start. This course helps graduate nurses apply knowledge in topics, ranging from medicine, biology and physical, to behavioral science issues to provide care to patients and society. Through this industry-designed and relevant course, students can specialize in an area of nursing and lead teams of nurses, resulting in a more-vibrant healthcare community.
Nursing continues to play an active role in promoting health and preventing diseases in the US. They ensure patients lead healthier, more fulfilling lives across the health continuum. To foster a supportive relationship with patients and society, creating an environment that supports patient education is of utmost importance. We can achieve a healthier world by educating, informing and supporting those who wish to take charge of their health.