the necessity of knowledgeable doctor and nurse

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healthcare essentials

Medicine is a dynamic field. Continuing research paves the way for new knowledge, discoveries, and inventions that help in the provision of better patient care and improvement in  patients’ quality of life.

Year-on-year, month-on-month, there are advancements in treatment from specializations as diverse as radiology to pain management;spine surgery to gastroenterology. Treatments and technologies that were unheard of a decade ago are now becoming commonplace thereby greatly improving the chances and speed of patient recovery.

A doctor or a nurse who doesn’t keep up with such developments is at risk of continuing with a practice that is outdated, less safe and in fact is at an increased risk of legal action. Medical practitioners working in a litigious society have little choice but to keep abreast of all the potential options open to their patients and ensure they are offering the best possible care at all times.

But these are far from the only reasons why knowledgeable doctors and nurses are essential in healthcare. More reasons are discussed below.

  • Knowledgeable nurses and other health workers know the type of environment they should be working in. Such professionals keep pace with the ever-changing needs of patients. These help them to maintain high standards of patient care. They are also aware of the right staff and resource allocation needed for effective care. Without this knowledge, a nurse or a doctor can work in environments that are not ideal for self and patient without knowing that there are better and safer ways of working.
  • Knowledgeable doctors and nurses are always at a heightened state of preparedness and they minimize errors. In this state, they reduce clinician dependent errors. They perform proper planning which can help to reduce the likelihood of a patient suffering avoidable harm. No one is perfect, including doctors and nurses. However, the right preparedness can greatly reduce the error rate.
  • Trained professionals who are up-to-date in patient care are more likely to identify potential sources of error in the organization and in peers. According to The National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine – IOM), the main areas include:
  1. Organization behind healthcare and the units within them
  2. The interaction within such organization
  • Nurses and doctors who continuously update their knowledge become an important part of High Reliability Organizations (HRO). Consequently, they are aware of emerging factors that could impact healthcare provision in a larger scope and context. They are part of a team that is always prepared to manage unexpected events.
  • They realize the importance of involving the patients and the patients’ relatives in care provision. According to Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA), the areas to focus on include:
  1. Identifying systems with impact on patient access
  2. Giving patients care that is evidenced-based
  3. Helping patients to remain engaged
  4. Keeping in mind cultural considerations (literacy, communication and language) that may affect patient care.
  • The role of technology in patient care is now increasingly important. It is important for doctors and nurses to know about all of the new technology in use in patient care. This knowledge is even more useful when they know how to best use it. This way they become part of an organized team engaged in providing consistent and standardized patient care.
  • Knowledgeable nurses and doctors know how to use relevant data in the provision of quality patient care. HRSA identifies the importance of these as part of Quality Improvement (QI) efforts in any organization. In a healthcare system, nurses and doctors should be aware of how such data is collected, the value of it and how to interpret it.

Patient care is a collective responsibility that is shared between nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals. While doctors play an important role in the early stages of patient care and subsequent follow-ups, knowledgeable nurses are in a position to implement the doctor’s directives on patient care and identify any errors and inconsistencies in such directives and appropriately report them.

Keeping the duty of care in mind for each and every patient should be the focus of every medical practitioner to ensure they can help everyone who comes through their doors to the best of their ability.

In short, knowledgeable and caring nurses and doctors are important because they help to minimize human error in patient care and support the overall Quality Improvement efforts of the larger patient care organization.

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