How nurses can aid in patient engagement efforts

Patient engagement has been made easier with new digital communication and remote monitoring systems, and hospitals and care centers are utilizing these efforts to improve efficiency as well as increase patient satisfaction. Because nurses are sometimes the first and most personable staff members that a visitor may meet when receiving treatment or having an annual check-up, they represent a crucial piece in the engagement puzzle.

American Nurses Today found that this intimate knowledge of individual patients and the value of friendly care makes a practice's nursing staff uniquely equipped to help shape and enact engagement efforts. Not only can these efforts result in a better experience for those seeking treatment, but these initiatives may have a positive impact on clinical outcomes as well as a provider's bottom line.

Why engagement?
As treatment centers and healthcare networks around the U.S. look for ways to emphasize value and results, promoting proactive, cooperative relationships with patients is critical. Engagement efforts may have many faces, and common initiatives include providing educational or support resources. For individuals struggling with a chronic condition, looking to quit smoking or another dangerous habit or even just interested in starting an exercise regiment, improved communication and the guidance of a trusted nurse can go a long way.

"The guidance of a trusted nurse can go a long way."

By using digital correspondence, an individual nurse may be able to talk with many different patients without actually scheduling an in person visit. This aids the patient but also helps providers maximize efficiency. 

According to Healthcare IT News, efforts to improve operational success can result in important financial benefits. For example, patient discharge can be a very high-touch, lengthy process, but by investing the time to address a patient's specific needs or concerns, it may be possible to promote better adherence to a treatment plan. Nurses may know individual patients better than a doctor or surgeon, which means they are a critical liaison in this regard.

How nurses can help
The Nursing Alliance for Quality Care found that nurses may be involved in engagement efforts from the time an individual enters a specific care center to long after they have gone home. Again, because nurses may have a more intimate relationship with patients, they can be critical in fostering a cooperative approach to treatment, as well as an invaluable resource when it comes to customer service.

As a patient arrives for an appointment, nurses can access electronic health records to have a more intimate knowledge of the individual's health history and give a more personal salutation. Even at the largest facilities, nurses can help visitors feel welcomed and respected. 

Keeping up with patients using online tools is an easy way to promote engagement.Keeping up with patients using online tools is an easy way to promote engagement.

Nurses may be useful in getting to know patient's schedules, home life or employment situation, all of which can be crucial for developing treatment plans that work best. Chronic conditions like diabetes or a mental health disorder may necessitate very targeted care plans. Not only can a nurse be an important player at the on-set of treatment, but they can also be helpful in monitoring and keeping in-touch with individuals long after an appointment with email and other digital communication.

Even for less serious instances, a nurse can serve as a coach for patients, providing the proper insight for successful achievement of health goals.

For nurses in this new era of healthcare, personal skills are as important as ever. Improving patient engagement efforts and expanding capacities with online tools requires the expertise and skills that may be unique to a provider's nursing staff. For that reason, nurses should play a critical role in the development and implementation of engagement initiatives.  

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