Patient-centered care should be the first underlying principle in all healthcare institutions and should be held to high standards that all members of a hospital should have in common.
Nurses are responsible for the detection and responses regarding patient safety due to their close interactions with patients 24 hours a day. This often leads to extreme exhaustion and burnout thereby decreasing the accuracy and efficiency of their nursing services.
However, often overlooked is an essential aspect of nursing that significantly impacts patient care – the overall health and capacity of the nurses themselves.
Continue reading to dive deeper into how correcting the overall health of nurses can translate to better patient outcomes and a loyal and positive nursing workforce.
The Link Between Nurse Well-being and Patient Outcomes
Numerous research consistently highlights the correlation between nurse well-being and the quality of patient-centered care.
A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that nurses who reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout demonstrated improved patient safety and better overall patient outcomes (Ryu IS, Shim J., 2018).
Burned-out nurses are usually more irritable, have lower energy and focus, and are prone to make more medical errors during their shifts.
When nurses are physically and mentally healthy, they are better equipped to manage the stressful demands of their profession and, consequently, provide more attentive and empathetic care to patients.
Reducing Stress and Burnout Among Nurses
It’s been demonstrated that stress and burnout can severely affect nurses and patients. An article in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine highlighted that nurses experiencing burnout were likelier to make errors and provide suboptimal care (National Academies Press (US); 2019 Oct 23).
To correct this issue, healthcare institutions must prioritize the well-being of their nursing staff. Implementing evidence-based interventions such as physical and mental stress reduction programs and fostering a supportive work environment can significantly reduce exhaustion levels and promote nurse wellness which in turn, advances patient-centered care.
Promoting Physical Health
Having good physical health is a vital component to function at an optimal capacity — so why isn’t it emphasized for our caregivers?
When nurses consume nutrient-dense meals and regularly exercise, this sustains their bodies as their career progresses but also enhances their ability to withstand the intense physical demands of their job.
It is important for administrators to get rid of frequent pizza parties and implement workplace wellness programs that promote physical activity and healthy eating habits for the nursing staff.
Prioritizing Mental Health
The psychological well-being of nurses is equally crucial in delivering high-quality patient-centered care. A research study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing demonstrated that nurses with good mental health had higher patient satisfaction and were more likely to engage in patient education and emotional support (Garrosa et al., 2017).
To support the mental health of nurses, healthcare organizations should provide access to counseling services and offer regular mental health check-ins to identify and address issues promptly.
Efficiently Decompressing Post-Shift
Sleep deprivation is a common issue among healthcare workers, including nurses, and can lead to decreased cognitive function and increased medical errors.
A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine highlighted that nurses who reported better sleep quality were less likely to experience adverse patient events (Caruso et al., 2015).
Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine are essential steps to optimize sleep quality.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
The fact is without a healthy nursing workforce the quality of care received by patients will not meet the standards of most institutions.
To promote patient-centered care, healthcare institutions must prioritize the health of their nursing staff. Reducing stress and burnout, and promoting physical and mental health programs, can create an environment where nurses thrive, and patients receive the compassionate and competent care they deserve.
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No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other licensed clinicians.
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