Definition of Term
Caring is a service offered by health care professionals to a patient.
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There are many definitions of the concept caring as understood by different scholars, However, the real meaning of caring is hard to be captured but its effect on a patient can be assessed (Geissler, 1990).
In an attempt to define what caring is, we can utilize the caring behaviors and say that the act of extending these behaviors to a patient is caring. There are a number of caring behaviors in the field of nursing; these behaviors combine elements of good communication skills and humanistic gestures towards other people (Wagle, 2013).
The concept of caring is diverse and its understanding and definitions depend on the perspective of the party interested. However, no matter the definitions, it is clear that caring is a service rendered by a healthcare giver with the overall intention of improving health care.
There has been a strong desire in me to help ailing and the well persons recuperate and stay healthy respectively. This is a desire that I have consciously and subconsciously fulfilled throughout my growing up by providing physical, social and emotional support to the ailing members of the family and society regardless of their age.
Through the process of providing care, the caring behaviors have been embedded in me. My dream career of environmental health nursing is a platform through which I will be prepared to explore different services involved in the process of caring.
Uses and attributes of caring
The role of caring in nursing is very vital as caring is the essence which nursing revolves around. The care received by a patient encompasses the concept of nursing.
One of the essential aspects of nursing is the caring services a patient receives. Social care services aid in the recuperation of the patient. The patient acquires a sense of belonging required for the positive psychological effect in the recuperation process.
These include giving patient comfort and company in order to ensure they feel loved and wanted. The patient has expectations that need to be met in order to aid in recuperation. If these expectations are not met in the best way possible and the care giver posses a non caring attitude, the patients feelings are crushed jeopardizing the process of recovery.
Physical attributes of care like touch, form a basis in assessing, planning, and evaluating elements of nursing. Since nursing involves the care of individuals, assessing the effect of caring services as a variable in nursing paves way for assessing nursing.
Caring for the environment around the patient is an important aspect in achieving the aim of nursing since the environment is a health determiner. Keeping the environment free of disease triggers will provide a chance to reduce the risk of infections and re-infections.
For example, it is a vain effort to treat patient without eliminating the disease causing factor which is found in the environment. A speedy recovery of the patient can be achieved if there is proper care and a clean comfortable environment (Spollett, 2003).
Caring for the well individuals serves as a preventive measure against the spreading of illnesses. Caring for the environment eliminates chances of disease causing micro- organisms to thrive thus reduces the rate at which an individual falls ill. Caring is more healthogenic than is curing the act of caring works hand in hand with the curing process (Oberle & Hughes, 2001).
Caring also provides the nurse a chance to manage the health of a patient and reduce the risk of other people getting infected. Recording the progress of the patient as a requirement for the caring process provides the doctor with the information needed to decide when to discharge a patient.
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This ensures that any negative changes in the health of a patient is dealt with to avoid sudden deaths and also a patient is discharged when the doctor is sure the condition of the patient will not pose a health risk to other people around him both the sick and the healthy.
Since care is diverse, the patient also participates in the process of his recovery by involving himself in healthy practices attributed to caring. These processes may be self initiated or may be directed by the nurse.
For example, a patient suffering from a wound infection does not only need the help of the nurse to care for the wound. The patient can participate in the caring process by keeping the wound clean, eating plenty of fruits which aid in the process of wound healing (Sappington, 2003).
Surrogate and relevant uses of caring to nursing
Caring is a promotion of health (Wagle, 2013). Lack of proper care can alleviate an otherwise minor health issue. Gynaecological nurses for example need to keep in mind the fragile nature of reproductive organs and their susceptibility to be infected and destroyed.
Proper care to disinfect gynaecological materials should always be maintained. Ante natal care givers should communicate with mothers and teach them proper methods of health care and the right kind of diet in ensuring low infant mortality rates before birth.
Nurses that deal with mentally ill patients should put in mind that most of the patients may be suffering from these conditions due to lack of proper emotional care, at work, home or the society. And that lack of emotional dependency often leads to emotional instability. There needs to be an extra amount of care in dealing with the feelings of these patients.
Avoid emotionally hurtful words that can send the patient into depression. A lot of sensitivity should thus be exercised as most mentally disturbed patients appreciate it when someone shows a genuine interest in them. The nurse’s attitude has a direct influence on the patient’s feelings (Spanier, 2012).
Nurses who deal with community health need to be aware of the fact that lack of proper care of self and the environment puts the populations at risk of infections. Proper self and environmental care measures need to be taught to the community members. The care givers also need to participate in medical sanctification of the environment to achieve the essence of nursing.
Patients who are critically ill need extra care and thus nurses need to know that they should be separated from other patients as any amount of neglect could be terminal.
Caring as a service offered by nurses enables doctors to come up with better treatment as it is dependent on the patient’s progress report of the nurse. The progress report helps the doctors to analyze the effect of certain drugs in the curing of certain ailments. This information can be used in knowing when to take a different course or maintain the same medication in treating of certain ailments.
Consequences of Caring
Good nursing care in relation to consequences of nursing care and treatment is not only dependent on the healthcare provider’s knowledge but also on the mediation of knowledge. Knowledge is much needed in order to observe and meet the patients’ experience of illness and suffering (DiBenedetto, 1995).
Caring for a patient is a tedious process that requires lots of sacrifice and patience from the part of the care giver. The sacrifice comes in when the care giver has to inevitably overlook her personal interests and of those dependent on her. This can result to neglecting of her social responsibilities like family care.
This in turn exposes the family members to suffer from care neglect conditions. For example, a mother who is a care giver spends more time at the health care institution at the expense of her kids. The kids may suffer from psychological trauma related to lack of maternal care.
Caring for other patients involves administering medication that may contain harmful substances that may affect the health of the nurse. Controlled substances like mercury are found in small doses in most medicines that cure dermatological problems.
Over exposure to this substance have negative effects to the health of an otherwise healthy individual. It is thus essential to care for the care giver by putting in place necessary measures to prevent being affected by harmful substances.
Caring for extremely ill patients can emotionally affect the nurse. Owing to the emotional connection that binds the patient and the care giver, some level of suffering of the patient can stress and depress the care giver. This stress and depression can manifest itself in different forms like, headaches, fear of the unknown, loss of appetite and insomnia. These conditions are known to lead to serious deterioration of the health.
Caring for mentally challenged patients is a high safety risk for the care giver. Some mentally challenged patients tend to get violent and pose a great danger to the care giver. The fear of being physically or verbally abused may affect the performance of the care giver as he or she may be in a hurry to get away from the patient due to fear of impending danger.
Caring for patients suffering from common communicable diseases poses a great health risk to the care giver and the people the care giver interacts with, for example air-borne diseases, like tuberculosis that are easily transmitted from one person to another. Since the care giver is directly in contact with the patient, he is susceptible to get infected and carry it home and infect others around him or her.
Caring as a process requires the patient’s participation. The patient needs to have faith and show hope to recover. Caring for a patient that has lost hope will frustrate the care giver as the patient will not practice self care that is essential part of the caring concept. For example, a patient who has lost hope in ever getting better may refuse to take medication. The care givers services may be rendered fruitless in such a situation.
Definition of terms
Nursing care refers to the services provided as a humanitarian gesture that involves the value of health determined by physical, social and emotional aspects of caring.
Nursing care consists of the creative and imaginative process of providing a cushion against physical, social emotional and environmental factors that may affect human health and recuperation by promoting caring behaviors that foster sustenance of human health.
A.B. is a 69 year old man and has been suffering from type 2 diabetes for five years. “Two years before this diagnosis in 1997, he had been suffering from hyperglycaemia” (Vilt, 2009, p.13). His fasting blood glucose values are at 118-127 mg/dl/, a sign of borderline diabetes. He is also obese and thus has to lose weight an advice he did not heed.
The family physician advised him to visit a clinic that specifically cares for diabetic patients. At the clinic, he is diagnosed with weight gain and foot pain to add on his diabetic condition. His efforts in exercising have been rendered fruitless since he has not lost weight for the past six months. He stopped his Glyburide (Diabeta), 5 mg medication due to the awful side effects.
His doctor had also prescribed daily medicine for the treatment of hyperchlosteromelia. He refuses to check the level of glucose in his blood at home due to lack of awareness of the usefulness of this procedure in diabetes care.
He put up his business for sale and began participating actively in a society organization as a volunteer. He was blessed with a wife, who gave him two children. The children however do not live with their parents since they are already married. Despite the fact that both of his parents suffered from the same type of diabetes, he has very little knowledge on how to care for himself as a strategy for diabetes control.
“His wife has suggested to him to consider treating diabetes through weight loss supplements and herbally” (Vilt, 2009, p.13). She looks for online solutions for diabetes maintenance.
A.B’s diet contains junks of carbohydrate taken as in bread and pasta that largely characterizes his diet. He takes nearly two cups of pasta and at least two slices for bread daily for dinner.
He eats fruits on a regular basis. Apart from eating lots of carbohydrates, he accompanies it with white meat and sauce. On the other hand, his wife’s offer to make him grilled meat without any topping is in vain. He usually accompanies his dinner with wine every evening. He decided to quit smoking when the prize of cigarette shot up.
His medical documents indicate a low level of hemoglobin of 8%. His blood pressure measurement readings are at 150/70, 148/92 and 165/88 mmHg, all the readings have been taken separately. The readings were taken at the local scanning centre during the previous year.
His blood pressure is above the normal rate yet he seems to portray a state of unawareness on the importance of maintaining the normal level of blood pressure. He is also not aware of the effect the high blood pressure can have on functionality of his vital organs: his heart and kidney.
He regularly receives the normal primary care services prescribed for diabetic patients’.He not only lacks knowledge on how to care for his foot but he has never undertaken the a foot scan test. His medical records indicate he has enjoyed a life of robust health.
His immunization schedule is updated and he has enjoyed a healthy life. He also suffers from; hypertension, obesity, hyperlpidemia, self care management lifestyle deficit and uncontrolled diabetes (Vilt, 2009, p. 13).
He was assigned a professional nurse to help in his care as he starts to manage his condition. As required in such extreme circumstances, the nurse began by addressing Hypertension and the high glucose level as they were the most life threatening in this instance.
The patient together with his wife upon the nurse’s advice agreed to visit a dietician who would help the patient adopt a healthy eating habit necessary for the promotion good health. The patient was also willing reduce the food portion he takes. The N.P. contacted a registered dietician and booked an appointment for the patient.
The main priority was to receive a therapy that centers on nutritional assessment focusing on two key areas: how to control diabetes and the physical activities that promote weight loss. The N.P. also took an extra step of care and requested the patient too keep a food journal in which he would keep a record of the meals and snacks intake. The journal also required of the patient to estimate the portion of the food he takes.
The N.P. also chose a first line medication targeted at achieving maximum control in the level of glucose in blood without the side effect of weight gain. On top of that, she developed a schedule to help manage dosage by increasing and decreasing whenever necessary.
She also made sure to maintain contact and communication with the patient by writing out the date and time of the day together with a medical report that she handed it over to the patient.
She gave the patient together with his wife lessons on how to use and read the glucose meter and the importance of these readings in making a choice on the type of medication and in evaluation of the effect of his change in diet. She also helped the patient and his wife set both long term and short term goals that would aid in the loss of weight through different forms of exercise and medication (Spanier, 2012).
The model has all the defining attributes of nurturing as a concept in delivering care. The care giver in a holistic way manages to listen attentively to the patient and deliver services that will help the patient manage his diabetes. She comes up with a chart that will help the patient monitor his eating patterns.
Her genuine concern also sees to it that she ensures the patient has a clear understanding of the usefulness of taking the glucose readings. She shows him and his wife how to take the readings and explains to them the importance of the reading. She undertakes the teaching role, a concept crucial in the science of care (Irvin & Acton, 1996).
Her holistic approach is also seen in her utilization of the communication process attributed to caring. She communicates with the patient by listening and scrutinizing the patient’s point of view and clarifies to the patient the importance of engaging in the activities the patient had previously taken for granted.
This helped the patient in making an informed decision. She ensures to maintain the communication process by providing telephone numbers through which the patient can make contact (Wagle, 2013).
Similarly, on her part, the wife of the patient is concerned for the husband’s health. She also shows a readiness to participate in the health nurturing process of her husband. “She is willing to actively participate in activities that benefit her husband” (Wagle, 2013, p.17).
She shows her sense of responsibility and concern by accompanying her husband for clinical visits and readily offers to see him through the activities he has been advised to undertake. She scans the internet for ways she can adopt to alleviate her husband’s condition. As a person she is portrays the caring behaviors needed in order to effectively facilitate the concept of caring (Wagle, 2013).
She also struggles to care for her husband’s environment. Since she is part of his environment, she tries to prepare diabetic friendly meals and encourages him to participate in the exercises prescribed. She motivates him and provides a friendly environment for her husband’s recuperation. Her motivation is seen through her willingness to take part in her husband’s exercise activities and also when she escorts him for clinical visits.
The model also demonstrates participation as a concept of caring. Patient’s participation is essential since there are those activities that the patient needs to take part in order to complement the care givers efforts. Engaging in the communication process by honestly providing the required information needed for analysis.
The patient was honest in explaining the amount of food he takes in a day and the activities he engages in. He also provided reasons as to why he engages in these activities even though they were not in line with diabetic care.
The patient’s willingness to attend the clinic and participate in the prescribed activities is also seen as a major step in self care process. The patient had developed hypertension to add on the diabetic condition he had due to his lifestyle. He was unaware of the impact of neglecting self care had on his health. Gladly, after understanding the impact, he actively participated in self care by agreeing to exercise regularly and visit a dietician.
Capturing the meaning of care in words can be a tricky endeavor considering the inability to separate it from nursing. The whole concept however centers its meaning on its ability to facilitate delivery of nursing skills to a patient..
As much as the care givers give a professional approach towards caring, the surrounding of the patient is also crucial in the determination of the effectiveness of the caring process. The environment is able to determine whether the patients will receive his physical, social, economical and cultural care services.
Caring is also manifested in simple daily activities that promote good health. Being careful on the content of the food in our diet, going for regular health check up are simple activity that constitute self care.
Caring should be undertaken right from the time of birth in order to reduce health mishaps that may arise from careless lifestyles. For example ensuring an individual receives all the childhood vaccines will reduce chances of the individual suffering from these diseases later in adulthood.
Caring in nursing is a determinant of the effectiveness of the nursing process. The goal of nursing is to promote health and this cannot be achieved without caring for patients. It is the responsibility of the care givers to create awareness in the community on the importance of self and environmental caring.
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