Three ways nurses improve patient care


Maureen Girard, RN, BSN, MBA

Vice President
Marketing Management
Medical Products
Cardinal Health

The American health care system is in the midst of an incredible transition.

From an increase in chronic illness and a growing aging population to the changing models in coordinated care, employees in the healthcare field, most notably nurses, are facing increasing demands. A larger patient base is just a small piece of the pie. Much like the world today, nurses are also being challenged to do more with less and work toward a more efficient healthcare system.

As active contributors, innovators and leaders, nurses continue to play an expanding role in the effort to maximize caregiving resources. In the U.S. alone, more than 3 million nurses from hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and beyond are working tirelessly to ensure quality and safety, care and compassion.

To recognize and celebrate nurses across the country, Cardinal Health launched RNspire, a new nurse appreciation program. This campaign has given us the opportunity to connect with nurses from across the country. We asked nurses to tell us what inspires them to rise to the challenge of patient care each and every day.

Based on the inspirational stories we've heard, it's clear that nurses are the helm of improving patient care. Nurses and those inspired by them agree on at least three ways nurses are improving patient care.

1. Patient-centric approach

There's no denying the sense of care that nurses deliver to their patients, especially when applying a patient-centric approach. Patient-centric care provides care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values to ensure patient values guide all clinical decisions.

Several studies have revealed that patients heal faster when caregivers connect with them through the recovery process. In fact, the Institute of Medicine strongly recommends a patient-centered approach, noting that patients' sense of control and perceived quality of life are impacted favorably by nurse's involvement in their care.

2. Providing a sense of calm in stressful times

Looking back at the stories we received, it was obvious that creating a calm environment helped with the recovery process. For example, Allison, a nurse practitioner, explained that, "Nurses are at the root of every raw human emotion." In stressful situations, empathy, kindness and reassurance have a significant impact on a patient's recovery.

To further prove the calming nature of nurses, researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark found that patients who were told by nurses to imagine they were in a safe place during cardiac ablation experienced less pain than those who had no mindfulness intervention.

3. Playing a key role in quality and outcomes

From charting and reviewing a patient's diagnosis, to keeping family members up to date on care plans and goals, a nurse's attention to detail in delivering care is essential to a patient's outcome.

Earlier this year, a retired Massachusetts physician wrote an article about his hospitalization and recovery following a serious, life-threatening accident. Despite spending six decades in the medical field, the doctor explained that it wasn't until he became the patient that he truly understood how much good nursing care contributes to patients' safety and comfort.

We recognize the critical role nurses play, appreciate the impact they have, and honor the paths they blaze. If you have an inspirational story to tell as a nurse, or about a nurse you know, please share at or use the #RNspire hashtag on Twitter.