When you’re making care plans in nursing school, they seem so formal. It’s hard to imagine actually doing them and they seem like such empty words.
But honestly, you will routinely do a lot of the nursing interventions listed in that trusty old NIC book (Nursing Intervention Classification). Here is the highlight reel of nursing interventions…
(SIDE NOTE: if you are struggling with Nursing Care Plans please read our MASTER POST on writing them here)
1. Active listening
This is something that hopefully you will do with each and every patient. While active listening is typically covered in a mental and behavioral health course, it is essential to do with every patient and their support system. This facilitates trust and rapport.
2. Prevent falls
Fall prevention should be on your mind for all patients. Some patients are at a higher risk than others, but throughout the shift it is important to do what you can to prevent your patient from hitting the deck. These ways you’ll prevent falls will be using a bed alarm, making sure they have a call bell within reach, using non-skid socks whenever they’re walking around, checking on people that are of higher risk more frequently. We’re so worried about falls because patients in the hospital, even if they’re in decent health otherwise, for a variety of reasons.
Patients are on pain
medications, confused, feel terrible, are suffering from sleep deprivation, and are in a totally different environment than their homes. People you wouldn’t think could ever fall end up doing so. That’s why we really need to be hyper-vigilant in preventing falls for all patients, paying particular attention to the higher risk patients.
3. Control pain
Many patients suffer from pain. Not all have pain medications ordered, but many – if not most – are incredibly uncomfortable. Surgeries, broken bones, and various disease processes combined with a lot of time in bed and not at home is a recipe for pain and discomfort. Therefore, controlling pain will be something you are going to do frequently.
You’ll do things like dim the lights, time pain medications before activity, reposition patients, provide pillow support, figure out which pain meds work best and what times and decrease stimuli.
4. Cluster care
Clustering care is a vital part of every shift, not only for the patient, but for you as the nurse as well. It is tough being in the hospital, having someone walk into the room every 20 minutes is utterly exhausting. You get no time to rest or have time to yourself. Someone always needs you to do something.
But, if you’ve the health care team member clusters their care and consolidate trips into the room, more gets done at once and therefore takes less time, therefore allowing the patient to rest longer. It truly is a win-win situation.
5. Turn every two hours / promote position changes
Like falls, many hospitalized patients are at risk for developing skin issues. Maybe they can’t move around in bed as well, or at all, causing pressure on bony prominences and therefore breakdown. Maybe they’re sweating a lot. Maybe they’re malnourished.
Maybe they just had a major surgery and have some serious incisions. Or maybe whatever disease process that’s afflicting them right now is causing skin breakdown. There are many reasons as to why a patient’s skin might compromised. This is such a common issue in hospitalized patients, that you will most likely be addressing it every single shift.
6. Promote adequate oral intake
Many patients will be dehydrated and have a fluid volume deficit. We are frequently trying to promote oral intake so that we can decrease and then discontinue their IV fluids. If patients have adequate oral intake and their volume status is optimized, it facilitates healing and getting the heck outta the hospital. Unless all of your patients are NPO, you’ll likely be promoting getting your patient(s) to drink enough fluids.
7. Promote self-care
Sometimes patients aren’t always too excited about doing things for themselves. Whether things cause them pain or fatigue, or if they wrongly assumed that being in the hospital meant their nurse would do every little thing for them, many patients need encouragement to do as much for themselves as possible.
I frequently find myself giving the, “I”m here to help you do things that you cannot do yourself” speech when the perfectly capable patient wants me to feed or wipe them. The sooner patients can take care of themselves, the sooner they can be at home, being as independent as possible. While there will be some patients that are completely dependent on the staff for routine care, many are able to do at least something for themselves. Maximizing what the patient can do for themselves will facilitate their care plan and you spend a lot of time every shift doing this!
So that was the nursing intervention highlight reel. We promise, you actually will use care plans while providing patient care as a practicing nurse. While they may not use the exact term in your NIC book, most nurses will control their patient’s pain, prevent falls, prevent pressure ulcers, encourage them to do as much for themselves as possible, promote fluids, listen to their patients and cluster their care.