When it comes to knowing what patients need, ask a nurse. They are the ones who actually deal with patients on a ‘personal’ level whether in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. They typically handle everything that isn’t related to making the actual diagnosis and even then, their input carries great weight with most physicians simply because they are the ones who engage with patients and are in a position to observe what doctors don’t have the time to see. Now, nurses are on the cutting edge of healthcare reform on a very different, grassroots level. Nurses are increasingly working in administration which is ultimately where healthcare reform begins.
How Administration Plays a Role in Healthcare Reform
Quite often reform begins because of budgetary cuts that prevent doctors and nurses from treating patients in a way consistent with their diagnosis or from ordering the tests they need to definitively offer a sound diagnosis. With a doctorate in nursing practice, a nurse has studied all the administrative aspects of running a healthcare facility and are thus in a position to report where problems occur. Whether studying for a DNP online or a doctor of nursing practice at a campus facility, that DNP degree carries a lot of weight and opens doors previously not open to nurses.
So What Is It Nurses Are Seeing?
For the most part, nurses are seeing understaffed floors at hospitals. Nurses are seeing budget cuts that don’t make sense in favor of expenditures that equally make no sense. Floors are going short staffed in major hospitals around the country, but because hospitals need to operate within a budget, there is no way to allocate funds for a larger staff while new floors and trendy appliques are being placed in the children’s ward. Nurses would rather see more money being earmarked for services and less for aesthetics.
Technology in Healthcare
Another major reform nurses would advocate would be greater use of technology in patient-centric healthcare. Wearables and other means of helping patients play a proactive role in their treatment plans would cut the amount of time spent in office or in hospital. Nurses would probably ask for greater funding for wearables that would communicate through mobile devices so that patients could be monitored more regularly, thus cutting back the cost of acute care when something went wrong post-op for example. Patients are being sent home too soon, in many cases, so to assign a mobile monitoring device to patients leaving the hospital would significantly cut back on the cost of treating complications that develop after the fact. Tracking them earlier would drastically reduce treatment time and cost at a later date.
So nurses are, indeed, on the cutting edge of healthcare reform because greater numbers are getting their doctorate in nursing practice and joining the ranks of administrators. If anyone understands what can, and often does, go wrong in treatment it would be nurses. As administrators they are in a position to speak on behalf of nurses everywhere who, in turn, are speaking on behalf of patients. No one knows a patient’s needs quite like his or her nurse so if they really want to reform healthcare – they need to appoint a nurse. It will be the best decision they’ve ever made or probably ever will.