Key Skills Nurse Practitioners Need to Provide the Best Patient Care
As a nurse practitioner (NP), your ability to think critically and make sound decisions is vital to providing high-quality patient care.
When faced with complex medical scenarios or ethical dilemmas, your critical thinking skills will guide you in making the right choices for your patient's health and well-being.
What Is Critical Thinking and Decision-Making?
Critical thinking and decision-making are key competencies for nurse practitioners. According to the American Nurses Association, critical thinking is "the active, organized cognitive process used to examine one’s own thinking and the thinking of others."
In order to think critically, NPs must be able to assess a situation, identify options, consider the implications of each option, and make a decision. NPs must also be able to communicate their thoughts and decisions clearly and effectively.
Decision-making is a critical part of critical thinking. In order to make sound decisions, NPs must be able to identify goals, gather information, consider alternatives, weigh pros and cons, and make a choice.
Those who aspire to the role of nurse practitioner should equip themselves with the knowledge and training necessary to help them develop critical thinking skills in order to be able to make sound decisions. You can achieve this much more easily nowadays thanks to modern programs like the online ABSN degree program. With this training and the skills and knowledge it imparts, NPs would be in a position to provide better care for their patients.
Why Is It Important for Nurse Practitioners to Have These Skills?
As a nurse practitioner, you are accountable for your patient's health and well-being. To offer the best possible care to your patients, you must be able to think critically and make smart judgments.
When it comes to critical thinking and decision-making, nurse practitioners must possess certain skills and abilities. These skills include:
1. Analytical skills. In order to follow diagnoses and treatments correctly, nurses must be able to examine and understand patient data and information.
2. Problem-solving skills. The nurse must be able to identify problems and develop solutions that are beneficial for the patient.
3. Critical thinking skills. The nurse must be able to analyze alternatives and make judgments based on logic and reasoning.
4. Communication skills. With good communication skills, the nurse would be able to interact successfully with patients, families, and other healthcare practitioners.
5. Ability to collaborate with others. In order to offer coordinated care, nurses must be able to collaborate with other members of the healthcare team effectively.
Critical Thinking Strategies for Nurse Practitioners
To be able to make effective clinical decisions, nurse practitioners can employ acceptable methods based on their critical thinking skills. The use of evidence-based practice is one such method. Specifically, this means making clinical decisions based on the strongest available data.
When making choices, nurse practitioners should also take into account the patient's values and preferences. Nurse practitioners can benefit from other methods and critical thinking practices to enhance their clinical decision-making.
Techniques like brainstorming and learning to get to the bottom of things are examples.
Communication Skills and Their Role in Decision-Making
According to studies, effective communication is an essential skill for NPs to have. In order to effectively interact with patients and collect the necessary information for clinical decision-making, NPs must have good communication skills.
Effective communication skills are essential for nurse practitioners in their interactions with patients, their loved ones, and other members of the healthcare team. They should be able to convey their research and suggestions clearly when required. NPs also need to be good listeners who know how to ask insightful questions to acquire a full picture of their patient's health.
Practitioners who lack strong communication skills would struggle to deliver adequate care to their patients. Trust and rapport can be established with patients by NPs who take the time to listen to them and thoroughly explain things to them, especially when there is a need to present alternatives.
Different Types of Decisions That Nurses Must Make
There are different types of decisions that nurses must make on a daily basis. Some of these decisions are small and inconsequential, while others can have a major impact on a patient's health and well-being. Some of the different types of decisions that nurses must make include:
- What medication to give a patient.
- When to give a patient medication.
- How to treat a patient's symptoms.
- Whether or not to admit a patient to the hospital.
- What type of care to provide for a patient.
- When to call a doctor for further guidance.
Making sound decisions is one of the most important aspects of being a nurse, and nurses must be able to assess all available information, consider all possible options, and choose the best course of action for each individual patient.
Bottom Line: You Can Develop the Necessary Skills
Every successful nurse practitioner needs to be able to think critically and make sound decisions under pressure. Nurse practitioners are expected to know not just the theoretical basis of scientific practice, but also how to implement these principles in clinical contexts.
All NPs, in order to provide the best possible care for their patients, should work to develop these skills and abilities through practice, education, and other means.
This article is a partnership with Marymount University.