There’s a saying that nurses are by our side at the beginning of life and the end of it, and every health event in between. And it’s true. Nurses are the engine that drive the patient care process.
In honor of National Nurses Week, it’s important to recognize the immeasurable contributions nurses have on caring for us all. At Healthify, we’re proud to salute the heroic effort of nurses by highlighting the many roles they serve, and the many hats they wear. In addition to the clinical responsibilities of the job, nurses are caretakers, educators, and advocates.
- Nurses are caretakers. They provide emotional support to patients and family members, and offer a shoulder to lean on after a difficult diagnosis. To be a caretaker, a nurse must provide compassion and comfort, as they do for patients every day.
- Nurses are educators. They provide necessary instructions to patients and other members of the care team to ensure smooth care coordination and transitions.
- And, nurses are also advocates. The healthcare system can be an overwhelming place for many patients, and a nurse’s guidance can make all the difference in creating clarity.
At Healthify, an organization committed to connecting vulnerable patients with the appropriate community resources, the role of nurses cannot be overstated. At every step of a patient’s journey, nurses play a vital role in positively influencing their outcomes. Just as nurses check for symptoms that indicate disease, they also check for symptoms of economic instability, lack of education and access to healthcare, distress, and unsafe living conditions. Nurses help vulnerable patients gain access to the resources and care they need most.
One population at risk due to social health determinants is the homeless. Because the homeless are exposed to the elements, they are often sicker, and “frequent flyers” at the ER. This presents a distinct challenge for providers to admit and treat, and discharge them with a maintainable self-care plan to avoid readmission. When assessing a patient, nurses will ask questions concerning where patients sleep. When treating, they will consider the potential that this population is especially vulnerable to afflictions like hypothermia and dehydration. And when discharging, nurses must tailor instructions, knowing the reality and challenges the patient faces once they leave the healthcare system. By building a relationship of trust, nurses can establish a care plan that is realistic and appropriate for each patient.
Nurses take the time to be with their patients, ask the important questions, and listen closely to understand the story that lies beneath the symptoms. Nurses understand that a patient’s chart isn’t a holistic view of the person. By treating the whole patient, and not just the symptoms, they understand and advocate for the specific needs of each and every patient.
On behalf of the team at Healthify, thank you to all of the nurses in our communities. Thank you for being there at the beginning, the end, and everywhere in between.