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November 2, 2023

How Nurses Can Improve Patient Outcomes in Healthcare Organizations

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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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As healthcare organizations strive for excellent patient outcomes, it is imperative to recognize nurses' pivotal role in this quest. From focusing on preventative care to continuous training with immersive virtual reality, there are many ways for a nurse to improve patient outcomes in healthcare organizations. 

What are Patient Outcomes?

Patient outcomes refer to the measurable results of healthcare interventions and treatments on a patient's health and well-being. 2023 data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services identified five top healthcare patient outcome measurements: 

  1. Mortality: The ultimate measure of a patient's journey through healthcare.
  2. Safety: Ensuring that patients receive care without harm or error.
  3. Readmissions: Preventing the revolving door of hospital admissions.
  4. Patient Experience: Fostering an environment where patients feel heard and valued.
  5. Timely & Effective Care: Providing swift, efficient, and impactful treatments.

Ways Nurses Can Improve Patient Outcomes

1. Focus on Preventative Care

As the first line of defense, nurses play a pivotal role in the realm of preventative care. It's about instilling a culture of early detection and disease prevention through regular check-ups, vaccinations, screenings, and insightful lifestyle counseling. 

Shockingly, only 8% of Americans currently undergo routine preventive screenings. By identifying health issues at their inception, nurses can mitigate the severity of illnesses, trim healthcare costs, and nurture patient well-being.

2. Reduce Medical Errors

Hundreds of thousands of patients in the U.S. fall victim to medication errors every year. As the primary people in medication administration, nurses bear significant responsibility for preventing these errors to ensure patient safety and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Here are some ways nurses can reduce medical errors

3. Utilize Technology

Incorporating cutting-edge technology into healthcare practices can significantly enhance patient outcomes. Telemedicine, for example, enables remote patient consultations and monitoring, making healthcare more accessible and convenient. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) also streamline patient information access, improve care coordination, and enhance diagnostic accuracy.

4. Use Immersive Virtual Reality for Continuous Training

One solution to improving patient outcomes through nurses gaining knowledge is continuous training with immersive virtual reality. With it, hospitals can effectively bridge knowledge gaps, improving their nursing staff's competence and confidence. The conclusion of a study found that “VRS [virtual reality simulation] may provide a valuable option for promoting skill development.”

Jeff Jacobson of Boston Children’s Hospital shared about the success of UbiSim’s immersive VR with nursing trainees: “The feedback from trainees is very positive because there’s this novelty factor. They're going to pay a lot more attention and get more excited because it's interesting for them. Our nurses have that sense of novelty every time they play.”

Discover how Boston Children’s Hospital uses UbiSim to train its nurses continuously. 

5. Get Additional Education and Training

Continuing education and training are vital for nurses, enabling them to stay updated with evolving healthcare practices and technologies. A study shared, “Nurses believe that continuing education is essential and their professional knowledge must periodically be enriched and renewed.”

This ongoing learning enhances their clinical skills and ensures they can adapt to the dynamic healthcare landscape. Ultimately, it empowers nurses to provide higher-quality care, improve patient outcomes, and contribute to the overall advancement of the healthcare profession.

6. Interprofessional Collaboration

Nurses don't work in isolation; they thrive in interprofessional collaboration. Shoulder to shoulder with doctors, therapists, social workers, and healthcare professionals of diverse expertise, they champion holistic patient care. Together, they address the multifaceted needs of patients, encompassing physical, emotional, and social dimensions.

7. Cultural Competency

Cultural competency in healthcare refers to a nurse’s ability to understand, respect, and effectively interact with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. It involves recognizing and valuing cultural differences in beliefs, values, and healthcare practices. A study found that “Having knowledge of the patient’s cultural perspectives enables the nurse to provide more effective and appropriate care.”

8. Ensure Continuity of Care

Demonstrating continuity of care is part of the Next Gen NCLEX (NGN) Exam and an important part of practice for nurses in hospitals. It means seamless transitions between different levels of care, ensuring that patients receive consistent and coordinated treatment. According to Registered Nursing, the important components of continuity of care are communication, collaboration, and cooperation. 

Conclusion

Nurses hold a central and indispensable role in the pursuit of excellent patient outcomes within healthcare organizations. As we've explored, they contribute significantly. By recognizing and empowering nurses in these vital aspects of healthcare, we can collectively work towards improving patient outcomes and delivering patient-centered care in our evolving healthcare landscape.

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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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