Nurses and 'culture of care'
Nurses have become indispensable in creating a 'culture of care.'
With spiralling costs, heavy reliance on technology adding to overheads
and the shortage of doctors, nurses are a vital link in physician-led
Nurses are going beyond their usual two-year associate and four-year
baccalaureate programs beginning to serve as anesthesiologists under
supervision by doctors. Many are given incentives to do post-graduate
clinical training here in the US.
The term nurse practioner is now becoming commonly used. These
specialized nurses are able to diagnose and do the initial work when
Aftercare in homes are now regularly done quite well by nursing staff
with the help of volunteers in many Western countries to look after
patients released from intensive care.
Due to the currently bulging senior patient population and their
attendant complex medical problems in most parts of the world, health
care systems have to rely on division of labour to a great degree.
The need to maximize the contribution of every member of the health
care system is critically felt today. Due to the sheer volume of
patients in the system, the diverse responsibilities have to be shared
between the doctors, nursing staff, technicians and auxiliary service
Keeping objectives in mind
Today health care administers are more aligned to keep the overall
goals of quality care in mind at all times instead of being immersed
checking insurance claims, billing and the like. Nurses have become a
major source of support.
According to the Transitional Care Model program at Pennsylvania
University, for example, getting everyone to fit in to the overall
caring is becoming routine.
Nurses currently form the largest sector of health care providers in
the US. It is so almost everywhere. The role of nurses had become a
topic of study during the past two years following the shortfall
anticipated in many areas - especially the lack of doctors.
A holistic approach is becoming established according to a report by
a national panel of experts titled 'The Future of Nursing: Leading
Change, Advancing Health.' It offers several recommendations, including
what amounts to a rebuke of the current piecemeal education of nurses.
The American Academy of Nursing has welcomed the approach.
Innovative nursing led-services
Part of that blueprint includes innovative nursing-led services like
the Transitional Care Model program at Pennsylvania in Philadelphia,
where nurses are assigned to elderly hospitalized patients deemed to be
at high risk for relapse.
For up to three months after discharge, the nurses make home visits,
accompany the patients to doctors' offices and collaborate with the
primary care physician and family caregivers. In early trials, the
program has significantly decreased hospital readmissions and costs by
as much as $ 5,000 per patient.
The trend now is for nurses to revamp the way they are educated,
citing the decades-long struggle within the profession to define what
exactly a nurse is. It is no longer an adjunct to something remotely
connected to health-care but an ongoing participation to serve the
The goal of having a reasonable nurse-to-patient ratio is sought
through out the world. California is implementing legislation passed in
1999 that mandated a ratio of one nurse to every five patients on
general medical floors. That is a goal worth striving for.