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Nurses are responsible for performing interventional patient care — also known as nursing procedures — in order to treat a patient's disease, monitor his condition more closely and promote faster recovery. In addition to successfully completing necessary patient care, nurses must explain to the patient or his family the medical necessity of each intervention. This type of patient and family communication helps to establish a therapeutic relationship, enlist increased patient cooperation, introduce related health condition education and begin to assess the patient's discharge needs. Following proper nursing procedures is an essential skill for every nursing student and novice nurse to master. Some of the best tips for following nursing procedures professionally include adequate procedural knowledge, appropriate clinical preparation and sufficient documentation of the procedure and the patient's condition following the intervention.
The first tip for properly following nursing procedures is ensuring that adequate procedural knowledge is in place. The nurse should be familiar with the procedure and capable of performing it accurately, competently and safely. In order to perform nursing procedures according to these high standards, the nurse may need to practice the procedure with a clinical instructor or more experienced colleague. A brief review of the facility's nursing procedure handbook may be beneficial, even for an experienced nurse. Any necessary equipment and supplies should not only be ordered, but available and, preferably, within reach.
Properly following nursing procedures also depends upon appropriate clinical preparation of the patient. In most cases, the patient should be informed of the upcoming procedure. Some therapies require that the patient not have eaten within a given period while others may proceed more comfortably for the patient if a preparatory dosage of pain or anxiety medication is provided 15 to 30 minutes before the planned intervention. Nursing procedures also need to be coordinated with other procedures, tests or appointments the patient may have established with other departments. Depending upon the specific procedure, the intervention may need to be scheduled when additional staff members are available or not otherwise engaged.
Finally, properly completing nursing procedures requires professional documentation. The patient's condition before, during and after the procedure should be clearly noted. Any anatomical or clinical abnormalities discovered during the procedure need to be described. If, for instance, a wound dressing change is performed, the condition of the wound, the amount and character of any drainage and the number of gauze pads removed and replaced should be listed and explained. If indicated, pre- and post-procedure vital signs should be recorded.
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