Nurses can closely monitor an IV drip to ensure the proper dosage and medication are being administered.
Nursing procedures are standardized procedures used by nurses to achieve a high level of patient care. By creating routine responses to medical situations, nursing procedures keep nurses working and allow them to ensure patients receive the care they need. Many hospitals have specific nursing guidelines that they expect their staff to follow, while other procedures are taught in nursing school. In either case, the guidelines reflect years of experience and collaboration between physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel.
When nurses start working in a hospital, they are typically given a nursing policy manual.
Having standard procedures is a critical part of medical care. Nursing procedures establish priorities of care so that nurses can work quickly to stabilize a patient, focusing on critical problems first and moving on to less serious medical problems. They also act as a checklist that can be used to confirm that all steps necessary for the patient’s well-being have been taken and that these steps have been followed in the correct order. These procedures also determine the number of patients a nurse can care for at one time, the maximum number of hours a day a nurse can work, and the way she handles administrative tasks such as graphics.
Nurses routinely check the temperature of hospital patients.
When nurses start working in a hospital, they are typically given a nursing policy manual that provides information on how to work in that hospital. The manual includes information on uniforms, hospital procedures, and expected standards of behavior, and also includes a discussion of standard nursing procedures at that medical facility. Even small details like how medications are filed or how instruments are labeled are critical to patient safety, making it extremely important to review specific procedures in a given hospital.
A competent nurse must be able to discern when to depart from standard nursing procedures.
In a simple example of a nursing procedure, many hospitals require nurses to check the labels used on IV drug bags to confirm the drug is correct before administering it to a patient. Hazardous drugs may have brightly colored labels to remind nurses that the contents of the bag can be dangerous for some patients. When a doctor writes an order for an IV drug, the nurse takes the drug from the supply closet, checks the label, confirms the dosage, then hangs the bag and adjusts the IV drip accordingly. A nurse who arrived on duty to care for the same patient also checked the medication.
Nursing procedures include the proper ways to maintain the patient’s chart and update the patient’s records.
Although nursing procedures are designed to standardize responses to situations to increase patient safety and make nursing more effective, nurses can sometimes be forced to go beyond procedural guidelines to deal with unique situations. A good nurse has common sense, which helps him or her identify situations in which standard procedures do not apply, and he or she is not afraid to question medical actions and orders that could put the patient in danger.