Client-centered care is at the very heart of modern nursing practice.
Gone are the days when care meant that clients or patients should be passive and submissive along their healthcare journey.
Today, putting the patient at the very heart of care is an essential practice for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
We will investigate how nurses ensure that they practice client-centered care and how senior nurse roles are leading the way in best practice, achieving optimum outcomes for patients.
We’ll also find out that working nurses can study flexibly alongside their professional commitments to achieve roles that value client-centered care.
What is client-centered care?
Client-centered or patient-centered care is exactly what you’d expect—care and treatment that prioritizes the needs and wishes of patients.
It means they are included in discussions around their care, are informed about what’s happening every step of the way, and are treated with dignity throughout the care-giving process. Patients feel empowered during their experience, which they regard with positivity.
Client- or patient-centered care is very much an exchange between the giver and receiver of care, where each party treats the other with respect.
How do nurses ensure they practice client-centered care?
We already know that nurses must practice client- or patient-centered care in order to achieve the best patient experience.
Now let’s find out what tools and methods they use to reach this goal.
Communication is one of the pillars of nursing, and it’s undoubtedly a vital ingredient in patient-centered care. In client- or patient-centered care, communication goes beyond the interactions necessary to carry out treatment or care.
It’s a question of a deeper or more intuitive level of communication that invites the patient to exchange their ideas freely; in other words, active communication.
It means the client-centered nurse will ask the patient open-ended questions, giving them the chance to fully express their thoughts and feelings. They will take care not to interrupt the patient or “put words into their mouth”.
The patient-centered nurse will also engage in active listening, giving the patient their attention and repeating back what they have said to ensure they have understood.
Continuous professional development
A nurse’s training does not stop when they attain their qualifications and licensure; it’s an ongoing commitment that’s clearly set out in the Code of Ethics for Nurses, which states that nurses should employ “research and scholarly inquiry, [and] professional standards development” to advance their role.
This commitment to best practice translates into better, evidence-based care for patients, ensuring that their needs and outcomes are prioritized and always kept in mind. The nurse has an active role in driving up the standards of care, with their active participation in research and professional development essential to achieving this aim.
Leading by example
By leading, mentoring, and setting the best example to more junior colleagues, nurses can pave the way for better and more patient-centered care.
They can do this “on the frontlines” in their daily practice and by demonstrating care, compassion, and inclusion in their regular tasks, as well as in senior roles such as nurse practitioner or nurse educator.
In fact, there are numerous opportunities available every day for nurses to lead by example, and, over the long term, by studying and training for more senior roles, they can help shape plans and policies, manipulating them towards a patient-centric system.
How can a nurse offer these combined skills?
Each of these skills—and many more—are essential components of client-centered care.
Some will come naturally to the patient-centered nurse, and some can be honed with practice over time.
One way a nurse who aspires to give the very best patient-focused care can learn the necessary skills and expertise is to undertake additional training for more targeted and senior roles, such as nurse practitioner.
A nurse practitioner has earned extra responsibilities through study and training and may practice alongside a doctor or on their own, giving them greater autonomy and independence.
Their tasks include:
- Examining patients
- Making diagnoses
- Ordering tests
- Creating care plans
- Performing a range of procedures
- Prescribing medication
- Mentoring more junior staff
- Educating nurses and other healthcare professionals
- Leading research projects
- Undertaking continued professional development to improve the standards of patient care
- Participating in professional groups and committees
Nurse practitioners may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and in their own practice.
They are a vital part of the healthcare system, helping to plug the gaps where there are shortages of doctors and other professionals. It is especially true in many rural areas, which are frequently under resourced.
And because of the emphasis on research, best practices, and continuing education, nurse practitioners are leading the way in ensuring the future of patient-led care.
Becoming a nurse practitioner
If you’re motivated by putting patients at the center of everything you do, why not consider extending your nursing skills to become a nurse practitioner?
When you opt to study for an online master of science in nursing (MSN), you can achieve your goals without compromising your already full schedule. So, if you’re looking to harness the benefits of being a nurse practitioner, consider the online MSN-family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) program from the American International College.
It’s designed for working nurses who have a passion for delivering quality patient care and will take you through essential topics such as advanced nursing, health assessment, and clinical management. With all coursework delivered online, opportunities to experience clinical placements, and time spent with a preceptor local to you, it’s the perfect introduction to working in senior nursing positions. With the chance to complete the program in as few as eight semesters, you will soon be on your way to reaping the rewards in a fulfilling role such as nurse practitioner.
At the heart of healthcare delivery
Nurses are at the heart of healthcare delivery and in the ideal position to offer client-centered care.
By growing and learning new ways of working and stepping up into more senior roles, such as nurse practitioner, they can ensure that this type of responsive care remains at the top of the healthcare agenda.
If tailoring care to your patients and helping to lead the way in driving up healthcare standards and outcomes appeals to you, consider further study to become a nurse practitioner at the American International College.
You’re already doing a great job, so why not take your skills and expertise to the next level in the pursuit of quality, patient-led care?