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The Importance of Direct Patient Care

by Lux Joseph 1. August 2014
Nursing care differs all around the world. From the United States to Africa to China, a registered nurse may have different responsibilities, guidelines, and even patient care protocols. In the United States, hospitals are now starting to shift the nurse’s focus to where it should have been a long time ago: patient care. A variety of hospitals and medical centers look at patient care as medication administration, dropping off meals, filling out shift paperwork, looking for missing test results, and searching for supplies. But out of all of those tasks, do any of them focus 100% on the care of the patient? The answer is, no! For years nurses have been trained to focus on the operations of the hospital, but Commercial Medical Escorts knows that patient care is our top priority.
Research has found that the more dedicated time nurses spend  at the bedside of their patients, the less likely patients are to suffer falls, infections and medication errors, and the more likely they are to be satisfied with their care. Commercial Medical Escorts designed its program to be patient focused from the initial point of contact and throughout the entire transport. We believe that this concentrated focus on the patient improves their morale, reduces any anxiety about flying, and improves their overall transport experience. In the hospital setting, studies have shown that nurses may spend less than two hours of a 12-hour shift in direct patient care. Individuals want to be loved and cared for. For some patients, the hospital staff is their only human contact they experience on a daily basis if they don’t have family or friends visiting. It is important that this shift in patient care continue amongst hospitals worldwide.
It is critical for organizations to recognize the talents and abilities of their employees and contractors and use them to their advantage. Why is a nurse hunting down a battery for a piece of equipment in a hospital when their time could be better spent comforting and caring for a patient? Every organization has positions for individuals and there are tasks that relate to some positions better than others. For those working in hospitals, there are certified nurse assistants and other less highly skilled staffers that can be looking for that battery and the nurse can focus on patient care. At Commercial Medical Escorts, our nurses and physicians focus on patient care 100% of the time. When they get to the airport, porters push the wheelchair while the nurse assists the patient into the wheelchair, comforts them, and ensures their medical needs are cared for. By shifting tasks to the more appropriate personnel it reduces the number of inefficient processes.
Some hospitals have started to transition to a more patient focused atmosphere by having pharmacists deliver medications to patient floors, locating common patient supplies within the patient rooms, and even placing tablets and computers in the patient room so the nurse can fill out the patient medical chart while still interacting and being close to the patient; not behind the nurses station away from the patient. Some of these changes seem small, but the impact on patient care is huge. As nurses have more time to spend with the patient and their families, they are able to care for the patients more closely and educate them on follow-up care once they leave the hospital.
At CME, there are numerous times that our nurses arrive to hospitals and the nurse senses the patient is being “pushed out” of the facility. An aging population means sicker patients with more complex needs, yet hospital stays are much shorter than in the past. Patients are getting discharged sooner than usual and their follow-up care is more complicated. Nurses focused on patient care are what are important to the healthcare industry, the hospital, and more importantly the patient. Nurses want to be doing what they entered the profession for, not doing inefficient things that any individual could do.
Patricia Rutherford, a nurse and vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement says “We shouldn’t’ be using expensive professional nursing time doing unnecessary and inefficient things when that time could be reinvested in direct patient care.” Increased direct patient care allows the nurses to be an advocate for the patient. The nurses and patients are able to establish and create a bond that has a positive impact on the patient. At CME we believe patient care is the number one priority. Patients should be able to feel comfortable communicating their needs and concerns. Every patient CME transfers, the nurse visits the patient prior to the transport to complete a full assessment, get to know the patient, and create that connection that will ensure 100% positive patient care. 

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