The nurse care planning process is an important aid in the treatment of patients. In turn it creates a systematic care plan approach which with the inclusion of other health care professionals allows the patients the best route to full fitness. When used effectively, the nurse planning process offers many advantages to the health care environment:
- It’s patient-centred, helping to ensure that your patient’s health problems and his response to them are the primary focus of care.
- It enables you to individualise care for each individual patient.
- It promotes the patient’s participation in their care, encourages independence and concordance and gives the patient a greater sense of control – important factors in a positive health outcome. (See Putting the ‘P’ in planning.)
- It improves communication by providing you and other nurses with a summary of the patient’s recognised problems or needs so you all work towards the same goals.
- It promotes accountability for nursing activities, which in turn promotes quality assurance and quality health care provision.
- It promotes critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving for the benefits of health care provision.
- It’s outcome-focused and encourages the evaluation of results.
- It minimises errors and omissions in care planning.
Basis for the nursing care planning process The nurse care planning process is based on the scientific method of problem-solving, which involves:
- stating the problem you observed
- forming a hypothesis about the solution to the problem (‘if… then’ statements)
- developing a method to test the hypothesis
- collecting the test data
- analysing the data
- drawing conclusions about the hypothesis.
A scientific fact Most people use the scientific method instinctively, without being aware they’re doing it. Simply picking out which pair of shoes best complements your favourite outfit is an exercise in the scientific method. So if you’re familiar with the scientific process, the nursing planning process probably seems familiar. Nursing process steps. The nursing planning process encompasses five steps:
- nursing diagnosis
Following these steps systematically in the order shown here enables you to organise and prioritise patient care in the order that is needed – especially critical for the novice nursing student. It also helps ensure that you don’t skip or overlook important patient information. When used correctly, the nursing planning process ensures that the care plan is revised when new problems arise or patient outcomes remain unmet. It also allows the nurse care plan to be discontinued when patient outcomes have been met.
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