In the ever-evolving world of healthcare, the impact of nurses holds steady. Nurses provide vital service when people are most in need. In the age of technology, nurses continue the tradition of hands-on care and in-person connections.
Over three million nurses work within the U.S., and the need is rising. Our country demands more nurses, so choosing nursing is a smart move toward a high-opportunity, stable career. With increasing patient needs, the nursing shortage is expected to increase with time. Before entering this field, though, it’s important to ask, why are nurses important in healthcare and in the community? Throughout this post we’ll discuss the top seven reasons nurses matter.
With the evolving health landscape, having educated, skilled nurses is now more important than ever before. Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree have been shown to consistently deliver better patient outcomes.
At Madonna University, we are doing our part to bolster the nursing workforce of tomorrow. Through our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, students with 60 prior non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can earn their BSN in as few as 16 months.
Want to know more about the accelerated nursing program? Learn more about what nursing school is like in Madonna’s accelerated program.
At Madonna, we appreciate the lifegiving impact of nurses within the community. The question, why are nurses important, has countless answers, but let’s look at the top ones. These are seven of the ways nurses change lives within our communities every day.
1. Nurses Keep Patients Alive and Healthy
Nurses are charged with the responsibility of preserving lives. This is a high calling, and one nurses don’t take lightly. Through their everyday actions, nurses support the health needs of their patients. Nurses sustain life through acts such as:
- Giving medications
- Managing ventilators
- Assisting in surgeries
- Providing nutrition
- Preventing and treating infections
One of the reasons why nursing is such a fulfilling career is because nurses make a tangible, real-world difference daily. You can see the results every day when a patient gains strength, makes progress and then discharges back home. Nurses keep the entire healthcare system turning, and patients are alive because of their work.
2. Nurses Spend Time with Patients
Nurses are the primary touchpoint patients experience when in the healthcare environment. Think about the last time you went to a clinic visit. After checking in, the nurse likely spent a lot of time with you, bringing you to the exam room, taking vitals, asking about your medical history and reviewing your symptoms. Compared to the nurse, the doctor may spend a fraction of that time with patients.
The same reality applies to an even greater extent when in the hospital environment. While physicians generally round on patients once a day for a few minutes, the nurses are present with their patients throughout the day. It’s common for nurses to check on their patients hourly or even more, and they spend time chatting and getting to know one another. Patients depend on the interaction and time nurses offer them on the path to health.
3. Nurses Observe and Monitor Patient Status
Because of the time nurses spend with patients, they are often the individuals who pay attention to the small details of how their patients are doing, and they notice when little changes occur. Nurses can notice slight changes in symptoms and alert the healthcare team about warning signs. For example, good nurses would be able to notice:
- Symptoms of dehydration
- Wound infections
- Mental status changes
- Signs of a stroke
- Electrolyte imbalances
Nurses perceive these and many more health conditions because they monitor their patients closely, and they’re skilled at noticing changes. In addition, nurses also recognize patient improvements over time. Their clinical perspective helps the entire healthcare team know when a patient is stable and ready to go home.
4. Nurses Teach Patients About Their Health
Health literacy is the understanding patients have about their health needs. It’s vital for patients to know the why behind their health. Health literacy helps people know how to make decisions that align with their health goals.
Many populations in our communities suffer from low health literacy. We need professionals within the health community who can remedy this by providing accurate, relevant information in everyday language. That’s where nurses come in.
Nurses also play a key role in patient education. Often when patients receive a new treatment plan or a new diagnosis, nurses are the ones who educate patients about their health. When earning a BSN, nursing students devote significant time to coursework that teaches the why behind health conditions.
Therefore, nurses can explain the meaning of complex healthcare terminology and the reasons for taking certain medications. Nurses provide essential value through being a trustworthy source of education.
5. Nurses Support and Advocate for Patients
Nurses have a passion for their patients. After spending many hours with their patients, nurses get to know them on a personal level. Because of the strong connection that forms with patients, nurses are the ones who go to bat for them. Nurses advocate for better tests, better care and better treatments. They go the extra mile for their patients every day.
One place you can observe the support of nurses is in obstetrics. On the labor and delivery floor, nurses become invested in their patients after hours of helping them go through labor. Thus, they become protective of these new moms, looking out for them and ensuring they get the best care every step of the way.
Another area where patient advocacy becomes important is within community health and caring for underprivileged populations. When patients are uninsured or don’t have strong ties to the healthcare community, nurses help prevent these patients from falling through the cracks. Because of their kind and intentional care, nurses help countless patients receive the healthcare they deserve.
6. Nurses Manage Many Aspects of Patient Care
Many people may not realize it, but nurses actually carry a lot of autonomy with patient care. Nurses lead many parts of the patient experience without direct oversight from doctors or other healthcare providers. For example, nurses manage:
- Electrolyte management protocols
- When to give PRN, or as-needed, medications
- Diet and activity levels
- Wound care
- Prevention of pressure wounds
This list could go on and on, but the point is that nurses are in charge of myriad aspects of patient care. The community and the healthcare team trust nurses to be experts in their field. This is one of the reasons why having a BSN is so important. Having a well-educated nursing team means patients receive care from nurses who can provide safe and effective patient care plans.
Why become a nurse? Learn the top six reasons why becoming a nurse is a great career decision.
7. Nurses Provide Aid Away from Work
Not only do nurses provide lifesaving care within the four walls of the hospital, but they also care for the community when they’re not on the job. In times of emergency or natural disaster, nurses are often the first to the scene.
For instance, when a community member collapses in a restaurant, a nurse rushes over to assess the patron and direct the next steps of care until the ambulance arrives. When a child falls and cuts their knee on the playground, the nurse at the park with her own kids is the one who steps in to help bandage the wound.
Whether they realize it or not, nurses play a key role in ensuring our communities are safe day in and day out. Nurses also provide aid by responding to the call during disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Whether it’s aiding with disaster relief or simply caring for people in need in the community, nurses’ role can’t be overstated.
Ready to Join this Lifechanging Profession?
If you’re looking for a career where you can find meaning and purpose in your work, nursing may be the perfect fit. In fact, nurses are so highly regarded that they have been chosen as the No. 1 profession for honesty and ethics 20 years in a row, according to Gallup.
With the ABSN program at Madonna, candidates with 60 prior non-nursing college credits or a bachelor’s degree can make the change to nursing in as few as 16 months after finishing their prerequisites. We offer three options for start dates — in January, May and August — without the hassle of waitlists, so you don’t have to wait to begin.
Interested in making the career change to nursing? Learn the steps to transitioning to nursing school with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
The accelerated nursing program at Madonna uses a hybrid educational model, where students glean a well-rounded education through a mix of flexible online courses, hands-on nursing labs and enriching clinical experiences. Our curriculum equips our students to take the NCLEX exam and enter the field as a practice-ready nurse upon graduation.
Reach out to one of our Admissions Representatives to learn more about how earning your BSN at Madonna can jumpstart your path to making a difference through nursing.