What you can expect from a nurse, if you or a family member needs to be hospitalized?
Kathleen M. Barta, RN, associate professor, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, replies:
Your professional nurse is responsible for the care you receive with special emphasis on keeping you safe, keeping you as comfortable as possible, helping you heal and protecting your privacy. The nurse will use a holistic approach and coordinate your care with other providers.
The professional nurse will listen to your concerns and ask questions about your self-care abilities. The nurse will also perform physical assessments, such as listening to your heart, lungs, and abdomen and confirming that any equipment connected to you is working correctly. He or she will look in on you as needed to reduce your risk from injury and infection, monitor your treatment progress and help minimize potential side effects of treatment.
Know who your nurse is on each shift. Your nurse is your advocate to insure timely care and progress toward discharge. When you have questions or concerns be sure to share them with the nurse. For example, ask the nurse for the name, purpose and possible side effects for each medication you receive. At the end of the shift, the nurse will hand off responsibility for your care to another professional nurse who will continue your plan of care. Your nurse will be available to you at any time of the day or night to respond to concerns and reduce anxiety. Your nurse will also teach you and your family ways to help you recover after discharge or manage your condition more effectively or arrange your transfer to another facility or home health agency.