Nursing Scores High Points for Care

Nursing Scores High Points for Care

Nursing has long held a top spot in Gallup polls of most-trusted professions, and a recent survey gave nurses another professional boost. A Gallup 2023 Health and Healthcare survey, conducted Nov. 1-21, landed nurses at the top of the list of excellence of care. a nurse in royal blue scrubs sitting on the bed of an elderly female patient for excellent nursing care

Eighty-two percent of survey respondents to the Gallup poll reported that nurses provide “excellent or good” medical care. Physicians were second on the list with 69 percent of respondents giving the “excellent or good” rankings to that group. Other care provider options didn’t fare as well with the survey reporting that hospitals, walk-in or urgent care centers, and telemedicine only took 58 percent, 56 percent, and 52 percent of positive responses. However, urgent care centers, which have become much more broadly available, did notch up a few percentage points since 2003. Hospitals, which 70 percent of the public said provided quality health care in 2003 (and even up to 72 percent in 2010), have dropped down to 58 percent with the latest poll.

Despite the turmoil the health care industry has grappled with since the pandemic emerged nearly four years ago, nurses have consistently emerged as winners in the public eye for the care they give and the level of trust patients have in their ethics. In a 2023 Gallup poll that measured public perceptions of honesty and ethics among professions, 79 percent of respondents said nurses rated high or very high in those categories (medical doctors came in with a 62 percent rating for the combined categories).

Only once in the ethics poll’s two-decade history have nurses been knocked out of the top spot–in 2001 when firefighters landed as number one after the 9/11 attacks. As the pandemic revealed the herculean efforts of medical caregivers to help sick patients, even at their own personal peril, the nursing profession again came into the spotlight.

When Gallup first asked for public impressions on the medical care provided by these groups in 2003, nurses scored even a bit higher than they do today. A lot has changed in the health care landscape in 21 years from addiction and pandemic crises to drug pricing scandals and skyrocketing health insurance costs. And while nursing care doesn’t directly impact these areas at a high level, they likely do impact public impressions of nursing and medical care as a whole.

With the high percentage of respondents reporting high faith in the medical care nurses provide, and much more noticeable declines in the perceptions of care provided in other areas of the health care industry, nurses can feel good about their accomplishments. They develop meaningful connections with patients and their families while providing excellent care–all within an industry that is rapidly changing.

5 Ways to Improve Cultural Competence in Nursing Care

5 Ways to Improve Cultural Competence in Nursing Care

Nowadays, nurses are increasingly working with patients from different cultural backgrounds. This brings opportunities and challenges for nurses to deliver culturally competent services. Whether working at a hospital, in a nursing home, or within a school, nurses must have the ability to identify differences in others. It is expected that nurses understand patients’ differences in demographics, beliefs, norms, practices, and desires for medical care and take their perspectives into account when caring for them. Cultural competence is an important component of excellence in health care delivery and can contribute to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities.

Here are 5 ways to help you provide culturally competent nursing care.

1. Perform a cultural competence self-assessment.

Determining your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working with people who come from different cultures is probably one of the most important ways to help improve your cultural competence. Several organizations offer free cultural competence self-assessment tools and you can choose one that appropriate to your work.

2. Obtain a certificate in cultural competence.

You can increase your cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills through culturally competent training, a workshop, or a seminar. Journal articles, textbooks, and the internet also offer great information that can help you improve cultural competence.

3. Improve communication and language barriers.

The values, beliefs, and worldview of a particular cultural group are rooted within their language use; therefore, language is the key to accessing a culture. It is best if you can speak its language or find a translator (an individual providing language assistance) to help communicate with limited English proficiency patients. You also can use pictures, gestures, or written summaries to improve communication with your patients and reduce language barriers.

4. Directly engage in cross-cultural interactions with patients.

Understanding that each patient is a unique person can help nurses effectively interact with patients. Nurses need to have the ability to explore patients’ beliefs, values, and needs in order to build effective relationships with them.

5. Participate in online chats and networks.

Online networking and social media can have a great influence on improving nurses’ perceived cultural competency and cultural awareness and keeping them up-to-date on cultural competency issues.

5 Tips for Full-Time Caregivers

5 Tips for Full-Time Caregivers

Caregiving is the basic cornerstone of any nurse’s job. In the routine activity of medical care and procedures, the nurse always has the patient in mind and is looking out for the comfort, well being, and health of anyone being cared for.

Being a full-time caregiver can be emotionally draining as a profession, but when nurses are also caregivers at home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And nurses are known for always taking care of others, sometimes to their own detriment. When a family member or friend is ill and you’re providing a lot of their care, it’s hard to find a balance so you don’t get burned out.

It’s also important to remember you aren’t alone if you feel the strain. Caregiving in the U.S. 2015, a recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, shows 59 percent of caregivers work at least part-time and 38 percent of caregivers report high stress levels.

If you’re in that spot of caring for people at work and at home, here are a few tips to make sure you don’t get burned out.

1. Take Care of Yourself

This is easier said than done, but it’s the top advice for a reason. If you let your own health slide, you won’t be able to take care of anyone. Make sure you keep up with any health conditions or concerns you have. If you have to postpone an appointment with a physician or a specialist, reschedule it right away. Don’t let your own health get lost in the shuffle.

2. Find a Minute or Two to Breathe

Deep breathing every day, the kind that’s from your belly and that’s slow and steady, will relax your body and mind. Luckily, you don’t need a small quiet place to breathe deeply (although if you can do that, go for it!). You can do deep breathing in the car, in bed before you go to sleep, on the couch while you’re watching TV or reading, or even while you’re waiting for lunch to heat up. Deep breathing helps slow everything down, including health wreckers like anxiety.

3. Time for You

Let’s get real – when you’re working and taking care of someone at home, you are pretty unlikely to take time for yourself. You don’t feel like you have time, and you might even feel like if you do have five extra minutes, you should make a phone call or tackle that sinkful of dishes. But you really need to carve out just a few minutes of peace for yourself every day. Sure, a long bath would be nice, but maybe listening to uplifting music while you’re in the car can be a mood boost. Can’t read a whole book? Just flip through a magazine you love. Find something that makes you feel good and do it – every single day. The dishes will always be there and they can wait.

4. Ask for or Hire Help

The truth is, no one is going to give you time unless you ask for it. You either have to ask friends and family for a respite break or you need to hire help to get it. Even if you think it’s obvious, people around you might not realize how badly you need an afternoon off unless you tell them. If your loved one needs medical care, work with the medical team to find someone who can provide respite care. Ask about what kind of care is available at a low cost or no cost based on your loved one’s medical needs. And don’t be guilted into not getting help. Your loved one may not like having other people provide care, but if you ever truly can’t be there, they need to at least be familiar with the experience (even if they don’t like it).

5. Recognize Your Limits

As disappointing as it is, you are the person in charge of taking care of you. It would be lovely if someone would sweep in for the day to take care of you, the caregiver, who really could use some extra special treatment. But the chances of that happening aren’t very high. So it’s up to you to take care of yourself, to be good to yourself, and to recognize when you need a break. If you can find ways to do that, you will be a much better caregiver than one who is exhausted, unhealthy, and worn out. You deserve your own care.