Nurse Practitioners' Role in Health Equity
Nurses are the building blocks of the healthcare industry. Their significant contributions towards improving the provision of health services to patients are incomparable. Enhancing the caregiving services includes the elimination of social disparities so that equity prevails in the healthcare center. Despite numerous efforts over the years, many hospitals still fail to provide equal care to all patients because of social determinants of health. These factors include the difference in incomes of the patients, their race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, sexual preferences, mental health, and religion, among many other reasons.
Health equity is a concept that supports the notion of an ideal state where these differences do not become a hindrance for patients to benefit from caregiving services. Nurse practitioners are a ray of hope during such testing times because of their dedication towards work which surpasses all these cultural barriers. With the help of nursing staff, hospitals manage to maximize their patient's satisfaction and improve their overall quality of life. Nurses are impactful because they possess the right skills to understand the needs of the patients better than anyone and help them find effective self-care ways. But what are the significant roles of nurse practitioners in health equity? Let's have a look:
- Understanding Importance of Health Equity
To understand health equity, nurse practitioners must have the proper qualifications to analyze the ongoing situation of the healthcare sector. Health equity will become a reality only when everyone in a community can achieve their full health potential. It is also possible when socioeconomic circumstances do not prevent disadvantaged people from doing so. Nurses take courses like online bsn to dnp to achieve certain leadership qualities and jobs that can help them positively change the healthcare system. While BSN allows them to practice as a registered nurse, DNP increases their chances of becoming in-charge nurses. And online education enables them to flexibly manage their time at work, education, and personal life. All of these benefits are conducive to improving the understanding regarding the subject, as such learning programs make nurses more experienced and knowledgeable.
- Recognizing Disparities
Nurses should empathize with these socially disadvantaged patients. They need to evaluate the presence of health inequities such as differences in lifespan and its quality, rates of disability or diseases and their severity, and most importantly, access to treatment for everyone in the community. Nurse practitioners have to tend to the patient at hand and focus on the underlying reasons behind their illnesses. It helps them evaluate the causes behind other social determinants of health, too. They should recognize the disparities in individuals' biological and behavioral responses, physical environment, life experiences, and food availability or other necessities. All of these are very closely linked with health outcomes, and recognizing them beforehand would help in improving patient satisfaction. These concerns can be reported to higher authorities by nurse practitioners. Also, bring up some systemic techniques that can assist in establishing solutions to improve overall community health.
- Building Trust
Nurses have the power of being empathetic towards their patients, which helps them become trustworthy and strengthens their relationship with humanity. To remove social disparities and make health equity prevalent, nurses need to build similar trust with patients. By partnering with communities and close friends or family, nurses can try to understand the social dynamics of their patients. They could use their nursing skills to overcome problems such as language barriers and overcome bridges between the family of the patients and the health service providers. The key to success is humility; nurse practitioners should acknowledge their lack of knowledge regarding different cultures. They should show eagerness to learn about it to gain the trust of the patient and their family. And also proceed towards lifelong learning and seek out diverse experiences to enhance their cultural knowledge.
- Contributing To Patient Advocacy
Nurse practitioners can take actions that can empower the overall population by becoming advocates for their patients. They can staunchly stand up to support an idea on their patients' behalf to provide them with the best cure and treatment available. Their knowledge and experience make them more responsible here. But there's more to advocacy than just knowing about the disease and its treatments. They should be able to take up a broader role and help their patients make informed decisions. They can help them navigate the medical system and translate medical terms to them to become more aware. It will help make health equity prevalent by protecting the wider population's rights of health and safety.
They can further expand the advocacy by sharing real-life experiences relating to public health issues in front of policymakers and legislators. They have the most significant clinical experience in terms of spending time with patients and getting to know them since they are the ones who have spent the most time with them. In that situation, they are better able to determine their wants than anybody else. And hence, they can become supporters of the overall community, empowering and preserving the integrity of being a nurse.
- Creating Empowering Environment
Social equity, as established, also means providing the exact structure of care to all the diversified patients and clients at a healthcare center. It is up to nurses to address and assess the disturbing factors in a caring environment and correct them before they adversely affect the patients' health. Since they are present on the floor for longer hours than any other staff, they know how to maintain a relationship with their patients and build a trust-filled environment. They know when and how to engage with the families and communities and help them evolve much healthier. They lead their patients towards holistic healing, which means they help them become better physically and psychologically. Providing complete care to the patients helps them improve their lifestyles and quality of care. Thus, they contribute to improving the overall health status of the economy.
- Improving Community Strengths
Community strengths lie in its social values, and they can enhance if policymakers are entirely aware of the diversified cultures in the society. Nurse practitioners could contribute to this by attaining cultural competence. Their organizations can bring ineffective solutions and services towards sensitive issues regarding health disparities. They are role models in learning about social justice and making it a reality, starting from within their staff and expanding to the higher authorities. They dedicate their time to bridging the gaps between health outcomes and health equity, providing equal and proportionate care to everyone equally.
In conclusion, nurses have a diversified role in promoting health equity across the healthcare sector because of the heavy burden of responsibilities on their shoulders. They are accountable for building their patients' trust and maximizing the holistic care they provide to them. They are looked up to because they don't discriminate among patients and create an empowering environment in their organization. And most importantly, they play their role as patients' advocates efficiently and responsibly.