Nursing as a Profession to Change the World

nurses in a circle, studying classes together

Nurses unite and change the world for good!

There are few professions as under-appreciated as that of nursing. Nurses work long hours in sometimes chaotic environments, and yet they have to ensure that each patient gets the best care possible. They bring a combination of education, expertise, and compassion to their jobs, even when they don’t really feel like it. In addition to their day-to-day duties, they also have to continue their education in the form of CEUs, or continuing education units. By taking classes for nursing CEUs, nurses are able to stay up-to-date on recent advancements in healthcare. This adds to their overall knowledge and skills, and helps them provide a better quality of care for their patients.

There’s a lot more to being a nurse than just checking charts and administering medications; here are some ways in which nurses can change lives, communities, and the world at large.

They improve quality of care

The doctors may be the ones performing surgeries or handing out diagnoses, but it’s the nurses who take measures to prevent secondary infections, reduce the chances of developing pressure ulcers, and speed up recovery times with specialized care. They also continually hone their educational foundations with CEU courses, so that they can apply the latest advancements and techniques as they care for their patients.

nurse looking to the future

Nurses are thinking about the present and the future

They support the medical system

Without nurses, today’s modern medical system wouldn’t be possible. There are approximately 3.8 million registered nurses within the US, and that number is expected to keep growing. According to 2015 statistics, there were about 3.5 nurses for every doctor – an important fact if you’re considering who’s spending the most time with patients. The doctors may be the ones performing important procedures and recommending treatments, but they don’t have enough time to personally oversee recovery periods, dosages, or therapies. That’s where nurses come in. Without their time and effort, what would the medical system be able to offer patients? Only a fraction of what it actually does.

They support communities by volunteering

As if nurses weren’t already busy enough at work, many of them report spending time volunteering in environments unrelated to healthcare. This could include spending time working with Habitat for Humanity, educating people on healthy lifestyle habits, or giving guidance on nutrition and exercise. These activities may not involve technical skills, but they do require the qualities that make nurses good at what they do – characteristics like teamwork, empathy, and an understanding of the relationship between lifestyles and overall well-being.

They support their co-workers

Being a nurse often takes a heavy toll, whether that’s physically, mentally, or emotionally. Not only is it difficult to witness people’s pain on a daily basis, but it’s even harder when patients don’t experience desired outcomes. It’s common for nurses to suffer from things like burnout, exhaustion, depression, and more because of their jobs. When this happens, though, they often get support from other nurses. This could come in the form of taking on a couple of their patients, or a few encouraging words at the right time. Whatever the case, nurses don’t just care about their patients; they care about each other too.

They improve the lives of patients’ families

While most of the focus is rightly on the patients, their families deserve to be acknowledged too. It could be that the family of a patient is in the healthcare facility to check up on how they’re doing, or they may have come in with the patient and not yet left. Nurses can make sure that families feel seen and heard by keeping them updated on the patient’s status, bringing extra chairs if needed, pointing out coffee or vending machines, and generally helping them feel less disoriented. These may be small gestures, but they can also be instrumental in keeping the patient’s support group intact.

They offer emotional support

If someone needs the services of a nurse, chances are they’re in some level of distress. And if they’re experiencing physical distress, they’re likely also experiencing emotional distress. A nurse’s job is to help address the physical side of the equation, but they can also help with the emotional side of things as well. They might go out of their way to express sympathy, or use humor to lighten the mood. This helps the patient manage their stress and anxiety, which makes them feel like they’re regaining some control over the situation after all.

They advocate for patients

Most doctors are only able to spend a limited amount of time with each patient; this can result in overlooked symptoms, misdiagnoses, and errors in medication. Nurses, on the other hand, spend much more time with patients. They monitor symptoms, they talk more extensively about how the medications or treatments are working, and they explain the reasoning behind treatment strategies. If new information comes to light that the doctor needs to know about – but that the patient wouldn’t have necessarily told the doctor themselves – the nurses make sure that the doctor gets this information as quickly as possible.

They improve health literacy

Patients can’t remain under a nurse’s care forever; once it’s time for them to leave the healthcare facility, their nurse takes the time to improve their health literacy. This could mean demonstrating how to do specific exercises, going over literature so they understand their prognosis, or explaining how to interpret dosing information on prescription bottles. Health literacy is essential if someone is going to take care of themselves properly, but close to 90% of adults in the US have limited health literacy. This being the case, nurses take it upon themselves to ensure that each of their patients can continue working towards a positive health outcome on their own.

The takeaway

It’s pretty clear by now that nurses are an essential part of the healthcare system. Their hard work has a ripple effect with every patient, eventually reaching their families, communities, countries, and the world. The healthcare system in the US may not be perfect, but it still sets precedents for countries all over the world – thanks in large part to the hard work of its nurses.

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