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Hospitals and Nurses what you need to know

Dealing with your loved one's care can lead to a hospital visit for a test, procedure, or overnight stays. Understanding hospitals will help inform your decision. We will also give you an insight into nurses and their role in your loved one's care. So you will be able to make the most out of your interactions with nurses.

Understanding Hospitals

Hospitals can vary in many different ways. It would be easy to say all hospitals are the same, but that is hardly the case. We will explain how hospitals are classified and what sets them apart from each other.

How hospitals are classified:

1. Functionality refers to the way the hospital operates in its community. Whether they are general purpose or specialized or have an academic goal through teaching or research. 

2. Size takes into account the number of beds a hospital has. A small hospital would have less than 100 beds, while a medium hospital can reach 499 beds. A large hospital would have more than 500 beds, although these numbers can vary.

3. Location is a way to classify a hospital as the level and scale of care can vary between areas. Small rural hospitals are widely different from large metropolitan hospitals.

4. Ownership of a hospital can give you an idea of how they operate, whether they are part of a more extensive private network or a small government-supported facility. Their methods and priorities can vary, along with their patient preferences.

5. Specialization can define how a hospital operates and the kind of patients they treat. A specialized hospital will focus on specific care or condition and take in patients who can directly benefit.

With these factors in mind, you can get an idea of the kind of hospitals in your area and the kind of care they can provide for your loved one.

Considerations to make when choosing a hospital:

Suppose you are starting your search for a hospital that is suitable for your loved one. There are some considerations to make during your search:

  • Will the hospital be located near your home?
  • Are the hospital's visiting hours and rules convenient for you?
  • Will the hospital accept your loved one's health care plan or insurance coverage?

Your doctor or health care provider might have hospitals they work with and may refer to some that suit your loved one's needs. It would also be worth asking family and friends for their opinions. If someone you know works at a hospital, they can provide much more insight.

Questions to ask during your search:

Suppose you have the opportunity to discuss your loved one's treatments in advance. You will want to know as much about the facility as possible. Here are some questions that you can ask your consulting doctor or the hospital personnel: 

  • Does the hospital have much practice doing this procedure?
  • Does the hospital have a good record of treating patients with your loved one's condition?
  • Does The Joint Commission accredit the hospital?
  • How is the hospital's reputation? Are they accommodating and professional? 
  • Is the hospital rated highly by respected watchdog groups?
  • Who will provide and direct your care if the hospital is a teaching hospital? How are medical interns and residents involved?

Answers to these questions, along with your research, should give you an idea of whether a hospital would be suitable for your loved one.

What to do before visiting a hospital:

When the time comes for your loved one's hospital visit, it is good to prepare in advance for the appointment and any following possibilities. Here is a short checklist of things to prepare and keep in mind:

1. Ask your insurer what you can do to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

2. Here are some things to bring for a visit. Documents such as insurance cards, forms, photos ID, a current list of medication, and an advance directive or living will. Glasses, hearing aids, or dentures will need labeled containers.

3. Prepare your loved one for their procedure. The consulting doctor will outline any preparations needed before the day of the appointment.

4. Have a backup plan in place. If there is a need for your loved one to stay longer, or if complications arise, be prepared for that eventuality.

5. Pack for an overnight stay, even if your loved one is going for outpatient care. You can pack reading material, toiletries, and any other overnight necessities your loved one might need.

6. Know what to expect from your loved one's recovery. Your loved one's recovery may extend beyond the hospital stay and would require home care.

With these preparations in mind, you and your loved one will be ready for the hospital visit. You will get to know members of the care team that play a vital role in your loved one's treatment.

Nurses in Hospitals

When visiting the hospital, you meet and interact with the registered nurses that will be involved with your loved one's treatment and recovery.

What Is a Registered Nurse?

A registered nurse is a nurse who has obtained their nursing degree, passed the NCLEX-RN exam, and has fulfilled their state licensing requirements. 

What kind of education do registered nurses receive?

Nurses nowadays are preferred to have a bachelor's degree or higher. However, an associate's degree is the minimum required to be able to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Types of Nurses:

Nurses can be skilled in many fields and specialize in skills for a specific type of care. Here's a list of the various types of nurses you might see in a hospital:

  • Medical-Surgical Nurses create treatment plants, give medications, provide care and organize paperwork for up to seven patients a shift.
  • Critical Care Nurses work with critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). These nurses work with patients who suffer from life-threatening issues.
  • Post Anesthesia Care Nurses work with patients who are recovering from anesthesia. Making sure patients recover without complications post-surgery.
  • NICU and PICU Nurses both care for critically ill children. Neonatal intensive care (NICU) deals with newborns, whereas pediatric intensive care deals with children up to 17 years old.
  • Oncology Nurses work with cancer patients and help provide all of their necessary day-to-day needs.
  • Neuroscience Nurse deals with patients that have issues with their nervous system. Neuro nurses help with daily care, rehabilitation, treatment plans, education, and much more.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurses are responsible for assisting mothers to deliver during active labor and educating them on topics they need to know for their newborn children.
  • Pain Management Nurses work with patients to manage their pain, whether it would be acute or chronic. They identify their pain and come up with treatment plans.
  • Rheumatology Nurses work with patients suffering from rheumatology disease. They work worth blood analysis, educating patients, and helping with their pain management.

Some tasks registered nurses do daily:

Nurses are responsible for many tasks during their shifts. To give you an idea of their workload, here's a list of tasks they go through:

  • Observing and recording patient behavior.
  • Performing physical exams and diagnostic tests.
  • Collecting patient health histories.
  • Counseling patients and their families.
  • Educating patients about their treatment plans.
  • Administering medications, wound care, and other treatment options.
  • Interpreting a patient's information and making decisions for the next course of action.
  • Consulting with nurse supervisors and physicians to work out the best treatment plans for patients.
  • Directing and supervising other healthcare professionals, including licensed practical nurses, certified nurse assistants, and nurse aides.
  • Researching to help improve patient outcomes and healthcare processes.

Why are nurses so critical?

Nurses are on the frontline of healthcare in any hospital. They are the link between your loved one and the rest of the health care team. Due to the nature of their work, they spend more time with their patients and are the best advocates for their care.

Their work doesn't just extend to medical care but also emotional support. Nurses understand the difficulties of any illness and its impact on a patient and their family members. With their training, knowledge, and skills, nurses are an essential part of any care team.

We hope this article gives you a good understanding of hospitals and nurses and their role in patients' health care.


How does a person become a nurse?

To become a nurse, a person would need to complete a degree in Nursing, whether a Bachelor's or an Associate's degree. After completing their degree, they can sit in and pass their exams to obtain their nursing license.

What is the schedule of a registered nurse?

Nurses can work in different shifts and schedules. Their shifts can be eight, ten, or twelve hours long. Work schedules can include the regular Monday to Friday 9 AM - 5 PM shifts with weekends off or variations mixed, including weekends or off days in between. However, these schedule decisions depend on where they work in particular. For example, a hospital floor nurse will probably work twelve hours shifts three to four days a week.

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