The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Hubei, China, has since affected the lives of millions globally and brought all systems worldwide to a halt. This pandemic is the first since the H1N1 outbreak in 1918 that has affected our lives so profoundly. Of course, healthcare providers played a vital role in such a situation. They acted as frontline fighters to safeguard the lives of the public.
However, this was also the year of an unprecedented healthcare crisis, which required nurses to work in grueling conditions and put their lives at risk to safeguard their patients. Although all healthcare professionals have played a key role in helping the world grapple with this uncertain situation, nurses have played a unique role. They go the extra mile and provide patients with not just medical but human care. Of course, this is just one of their contributions in this challenging period. If you’re interested in learning more about the phenomenal role of nurses during COVID-19, keep reading below.
Divide the burden
Healthcare systems have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients who have come through the doors since the virus began spreading. Despite their extensive training, doctors find themselves unable to fully deal with the virus and need to develop new interventions each day. The situation is entirely novel and unprecedented for civilians and healthcare staff alike. In such cases, nurses play a vital role in reducing the burden placed on doctors by treating, diagnosing, and caring for patients. The nurse’s role has evolved immensely from what it once was, and nurses can now take on various tasks with increased independence.
With higher education, nurses can take on advanced roles catering to various populations. Advanced education allows you to stay updated on the latest treatment protocols so that you can improve patient outcomes. With a master’s in nursing, you can directly diagnose your patients, begin treatments, prescribe medication, oversee and develop treatment plans, and conduct tests. Nurse practitioners thus help reduce the burden on doctors and help create better treatments during COVID. Furthermore, it is effortless to get an advanced degree as you can opt for an online MSN with flexible schedules.
Provided much needed emotional support
Nurses have historically provided patients with medical care and emotional support as they deal with several illnesses. The doctor’s role is to treat the disease, but the nurse’s role extends far beyond that. Technological advancements mean that for most healthcare practitioners, the importance of the human touch is decreasing. However, the laying of hands has been a pillar of healthcare systems for centuries, and nurses help keep this tradition alive. The human touch is a vital factor that can facilitate healing and provide much-needed emotional support. Acts such as bathing clients, helping them change sides, and assisting them with everyday tasks involve human touch.
Human touch is even more vital for patients with COVID, who have virtually no contact with their loved ones. Their presence and care help patients feel the comfort they need to begin healing. Nurses often put themselves at risk of contracting the disease by coming in such close quarters with their patients, making this one of the most vital roles they fulfill.
Nurses play a vital role in educating patients and their loved ones to adopt better healthcare practices. They have also played an essential role in educating the general public to follow the SOP’s to ensure the spread slows down. Most of these SOP’s have been developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals, including nurses, who have detailed information regarding the virus. Hence they can convey to patients the best ways to help them recover faster and what to do if they feel their condition worsens. They can also educate family members about the warning signs and what they need to do if they think their loved one is getting sicker.
Furthermore, they can help family members understand the importance of social distancing and care for the affected without contracting the disease. Educating entire communities can help flatten the curve and reduce the burden on healthcare institutions globally. Furthermore, as some of the most distinguished medical workers, nurses play a vital role in debunking myths about the pandemic and guiding people to the appropriate resources.
Patient advocacy and research
While doctors and other healthcare staff have a monumental task in treating the virus, nurses have the added responsibility of patient advocacy. Nurses often work much more closely with patients than doctors and understand how different treatment procedures affect them. A process may bring fast results, but if it causes the patients dissatisfaction and discomfort, it needs to be re-evaluated. Nurses are the most outspoken advocates for the rights of their patients and work their hardest to ensure that patient dignity is maintained.
Many patients suffering from the virus aren’t in a place where they can voice their concerns, and it is up to the nurses to raise any issues. Nurses thus act as frontrunners in pioneering the latest research with a heavy focus on patient advocacy. When developing treatments to deal with the virus, the influence of nurses can thus lead to humane, effective protocols that do not compromise the patients.
Doctors have their hands full dealing with the steady influx of infected patients from COVID globally. In such cases, doctors often rely heavily on nurses to provide them with all the necessary information to make the final treatment choices. Nurses thus play a vital part in analyzing patient conditions and planning the treatment procedures. As they spend most of their time with clients, their recommendations carry immense weight in the final decision-making process. They allow healthcare staff to make personalized treatments for each patient based on their condition.
The pandemic outbreak has only helped to highlight the immense importance of nurses to the healthcare system. Without their help, no other healthcare professionals would have dealt with this crisis, and healthcare systems may have collapsed. Thus, it is vital to ensure that nurses get the recognition, funding, and support they deserve as they continue this fight.