Learning the nursing process is an important part of a nurse's education. Most nursing
theories contain some form of the nursing process in their philosophies, though it may
be adapted depending on the model and its uses. Once a nurse begins practicing, either
as a student or after earning a nursing license, the nursing process is one aspect of
education that continues to be important in patient care.
What is the Nursing Process
The nursing process is a series of steps nurses use to guide them in patient care.
It begins with the assessment of the patient. The nurse and other health care professionals
gather information about the patient, his or her medical history, and any symptoms he or
she is presenting. After the information is gathered, the health care team makes a
diagnosis of the patient, and the nurse creates a nursing care plan based on the
assessment and diagnosis. The nursing care plan is the plan for the nurse and other
health care professionals to help the patient meet his or her health goals. Once the
goals are set and the plan created, it is implemented to work toward the patient's
health. Finally, the patient is evaluated to determine whether or not the patient's
health goals were met, and to make any changes needed. Depending on the type of nursing
process used, the nurse may also be evaluated to determine how she cared for the patient.
Why Learn the Nursing Process
Nurses learn the nursing process to help guide them in patient care. It provides a
framework for new nurses as they learn to care for patients. The regulation of the
nursing process gives nurses steps to follow so they know what to do next to help
each patient. As nurses become more familiar with the nursing process and begin to
use it more naturally in their nursing practice, it allows them to focus on specific
needs of individual patients. Nurses will know what comes next in the nursing process
and how to help their patients meet their health goals, so they will be comfortable
adjusting the nursing process depending on the needs and situation of each patient.
For example, a young man recovering from a heart attack will have different needs
from an infant born prematurely. For new nurses, the nursing process guides patient
care. For more experienced nurses, the nursing process is a framework they can use
to find the best way to care for their patients.
How Does The Nursing Process Affect Patient Care
The nursing process helps regulate patient care. When nurses use the nursing process,
it's easier for health care professionals to track exactly how a patient was cared for.
A nurse follows specific steps for each patient, and when another health care professional
reads notes about that patient, he or she can see where the nurse is in the nursing process,
which will, in turn explain how the patient care is going. Keeping the health care team
fully informed will ensure the patient gets exactly what he or she needs in order to meet
the health goals set by the patient and health care team.