Nurses need to play an integral role in redesigning healthcare

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As nurses are the ones who become the major links of communication chains, the biggest data gathering force and the pillars of implementing change across the health care systems Dr Sai Bala, RN, RM, Nursing Director, Amrita Hospital, Kochi opines that it is time that the nursing leadership gear up to the challenges the pandemic has posed and leverage their experience in being the leading voice of change in the health care system

Nurses are the bridge between patients doctors, and other health care professionals and only through coordination and collaboration with a better understanding of each other, can we bring patients’ health back to their highest potential.

This past year has been extremely challenging for all nurses across the world, each of them having their own unique set of challenges. The nursing fraternity has worked tirelessly to save and support lives throughout the pandemic, and we are glad that our work has been recognised and celebrated to a good extent, challenging the misperception of healthcare jobs being regarded as ‘simple’. Nurses, worldwide have inadvertently inspired a generation and have underpinned a multidisciplinary fight against coronavirus, demonstrating the skill, resilience, commitment and compassion necessary to save lives.

From treatment based solely on visits, to building a continuous healing relationship, for us nurses, our values are important that we hold in high regard while treating a patient. We believe that there should be free flow of information with complete transparency, there should be cooperation and a deeper understanding between the different health care professionals, and patients should feel secure when they are being treated.

The pandemic has brought in a new perspective to existing health care system. It has posed a challenge to the traditional institution based episodic fragmented care with lesser accessibility and affordability. We are forced to bring in a seamless integration of promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. The services needed to be provided at home, and across all health care setting ranging from primary health centres to tertiary care facilities, in order to bring in the best use of our knowledge, skills and infrastructure to effectively and successfully sail through this time.

Nursing being the epicentre of healthcare activities and the biggest manpower force spending maximum contact time with patients are at a greater advantage in transcribing the needs of the patients to every other health care professional. Like the home-makers they are the ones who become the major links of communication chains, the biggest data gathering force and the pillars of implementing change across the health care systems. It is time that the nursing leadership gear up to the challenges the pandemic has posed and leverage their experience in being the leading voice of change in the health care system.

Nursing as a profession, has always been an integral part of healthcare and now is the time to make nursing equipped for the ever-changing and ever evolving world, achieve higher education and training through an improved education system promoting seamless academic progression and be equal partners with physicians and others in redesigning healthcare. Effective workforce planning and policymaking always requires better data collection and an information infrastructure and this is only possible when nurses become multi-faceted, providing patient centred care, working in interdisciplinary teams and employing evidence-based practices.

This will also be necessary to recognise the multiplicity of intricate skills demonstrated by nurses and the value of their role within healthcare systems. With the nursing profession gaining more public acknowledgement and appreciation due to the exposure of the pandemic, the horizons of future healthcare look to be brighter than the ones witnessed in the last year. The nursing profession has pulled together from all corners of the profession and supported one another through the worst of times. This resilience and interdependence are what will emerge as a positive lasting effect.

We have entered an unprecedented phase in the history of healthcare, where all medical infrastructure seems to be collapsing under the burgeoning pressures of the pandemic. Nurses across institutions, across the country need to reach out to each other and extend a helping hand. They need to know and understand each other’s pain and support each other, sharing their learnings to overcome these difficult times. They need to hold hands with all healthcare professionals as these are the ones that are most emotionally impacted being at the epicentre of this pandemic.

Ultimately, our strength lies in how high we can uphold our values and with how much conviction and integrity!

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