A good healthcare system plays a pivotal role in building a strong economy. According to a study in this field, even a 10% increase in life expectancy corresponds to 0.4 percent annual economic growth. Thus, high-quality healthcare helps prevent diseases and improves the quality of life.
It is necessary to grasp the components of the healthcare system to comprehend its function in a country’s economic growth. It includes all healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, dentists, pharmacists, technicians, physiotherapists, and nutritionists, to name a few. While each healthcare professional serves an important role in an organization, nurses are an anchor. Since nurses provide direct care and support to the patients, they promote health by educating patients on preventing illnesses and injuries. Being primary healthcare providers, the role of nurses is evolving.
Role of Nurses in healthcare systems
Today, nurses are not just the primary caregivers. But they are also the primary information carriers on how providing health services to the patients can be improved with time. Their job responsibilities include patient care, bedside and medication management, assistance with surgeries, data collection and reporting, and performing immediate interventions to reduce risk or prevent medical complications. The nurses often overlook their health while performing their duties, affecting their quality of life. Therefore, to perform their tasks efficiently, the nurses need to improve their health and quality of life to serve their roles in the best way possible.
Discussed below are some ways the nurses can improve their health and quality of life to ensure effective and efficient performance at work:
The recent technology interventions at hospitals require the nurses to be adequately educated and trained to ensure the smooth delivery of quality health service.
People often wonder, Why Earn your Bachelor’s in Nursing to upgrade your career? A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree prepares nurses for a wide variety of professional roles. It helps you advance your Nursing practice, improve patient outcomes, enjoy better job options, and earn more. Nurses can also pursue careers as nurse educators, nurse recruiters, health policy nurses, nurse health coaches, or forensic nurses. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurse practitioners (NPs) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will enjoy a projected 26% job growth rate from 2018 to 2028. Nurses also enjoy an earning power with a median annual salary of $113,930 (May 2018).
Eating healthy and exercising regularly
A healthy diet and adequate physical activity are the most important behaviors that promote your overall well-being. Proper nutrition and physical exercises help prevent obesity and other related diseases. A cross-sectional survey of 325 British nurses concluded that 45.98% met government guidelines for physical activity. 53.9% consumed high fat and high sugar foods regularly, which may be due to the workload. Such habits promote obesity, and obese nurses cannot satisfy the demands of their jobs.
The hospital management can devise a health management program for nurses to take care of their diet. And offer healthy exercises during or after work to maintain their fitness and avoid obesity. The management should also offer nurses routine physical examinations and disease screenings to ensure fit and fine. The nurses also need to abstain from smoking or alcohol addiction. They should avoid fast food as much as possible. This way, they can focus on their work and perform efficiently.
Stress also serves as another reason for poor health and work performance. Evidence indicates that prolonged stress results in binge eating with increased fat, sugar, and salt consumption. In hospitals, the stress often comes from unfavorable work schedules (long working hours and work overload), leading to increased burnout and stress and decreased job satisfaction.
The nurses can follow deep breathing exercises and meditation techniques to cope with work stress. The deep breathing exercises can be practiced at a consistent time each day. You have to choose a specific place that is easy to access, quiet and comfortable to practice deep breathing regularly to reduce stress.
Meditation is calling the thoughts and clearing out unimportant information from the mind. Through meditation, the person finds a deep state of relaxation, which increases tolerance and reduces negative emotions. It can help nurses focus on the present moment, reflect on gratitude, encourage relaxation, thus avoiding stress.
Getting adequate sleep
When it comes to taking care of your overall health, the importance of getting adequate sleep cannot be underestimated. It is needed for a healthy immune system and memory processing. But for nurses, getting the right amount of sleep is an issue primarily due to their 12 hours work shifts. On average, nurses sleep for 5.5 hours each day which increases the drowsiness for the next work shift, eventually leading to mistakes.
Nurses should make sleep their priority by:
- limiting the number of night shifts and making sure they have 48 hours off-duty time before going for another shift
- Avoiding caffeinated beverages at least 6 hours before going to sleep
- Taking an employer-approved short nap during work breaks
A healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep are the few factors that contribute to nurses’ improved health and quality of life.
Nurses need to take care of patients. Hence, employers also have a fundamental duty to provide a healthy work environment. A healthy work environment creates challenges for nurses to use their skills, knowledge, and expertise to provide the best nursing care to their patients.
Research by Kramer and Schmalenberg states eight crucial elements of a healthy work environment for nurses for the provision of high-quality nursing care:
- Competent nurses
- Adequate staffing
- Good nurse-physician relationship
- Autonomous nursing practice
- Nurse manager support
- Support for education
- A culture that values concern for patients
The profession of nursing serves an important role in the healthcare system. Nurses must take care of themselves to provide high-quality care to their patients. With a healthy work environment, healthy nurses will provide the finest health services to patients, ultimately contributing to economic success.