It might seem like the nursing process is complicated and hard to understand. It is actually a well thought out and essential part of the care given to each person. The nursing process is individualized for each patient and is ongoing during the time the patient is experiencing problems. From this process, the care to be given to each patient is decided and can end at any time if the problems are resolved. It can also change with the improvement or deterioration of the problems it is addressing. All of the problems are looked at individually and not just once for each patient. Some of the characteristics of the process are that it is cyclic and dynamic, goal centered and client centered, interpersonal and collaborative, universally applicable and systematic.
The nursing process begins, with considering the individual needs of each person. The goal of nursing care is to assess the needs of a patient in order to give each one the care he or she needs to insure their well-being. The needs are then addressed on an individual basis until the desired outcome is achieved.
The nursing process is actually a pretty simple concept and is similar to the way we go about life on a daily basis. In day to day life, we see a problem and if we want to solve it, we follow a specific process such as evaluating the problem, coming up with a solution and ultimately solving or trying to solve the problem.
The phases of the nursing process include assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. In other words, through discussion and observation of the patient, current needs and future needs are identified and addressed on an individual basis for each patient. Usually a person is admitted to the hospital because of a specific need or several needs. The nurse decides what the needs are, comes up with a plan to take care of the need or needs, and then follow through or implements the plan. After the above steps are completed, the nurse then has to evaluate how well the plan went and if the goals were met. Not only are physical needs looked at but emotional and social as well. As one need is evaluated and taken care of, the next is looked at and ultimately all the needs may even overlap. Needs are constantly changing and the way they are dealt with also has to change along with that.
In the assessment phase of the nursing process, not only are the actual immediate needs looked at and assessed but also any future needs that may arise. It is at this point that information is attained and continually added to.
After the need is found and decided upon, the next phase is setting a goal and planning what to do to achieve the goal. At this point a nursing care plan is developed on how to care for the patients needs. Through the care plan, priorities are set, goals are written and goals are communicated to others involved in the care of the patient.
Actually implementing the patient care is next in the process. The care decided upon in the plan is carried out and changed as needed during this phase and documentation of the care is done.
Finally, evaluating how well the process developed or is developing is the final phase of the nursing process. It is at this point that the nurse has to decide if the plan is producing satisfactory results. If the results are too slow to measure or there are no changes at all, the whole plan of care may have to be rethought and rewritten depending on how well the goals are met. Through the development and implementation of this plan of care, consistency can be achieved from everyone on the nursing team to assure that the patient is receiving the best care possible.
In conclusion, the characteristics of the nursing process are that there is a sequence of events which enables nurses to take care of patients in any type of setting. In the process each event or goal is dependent upon what came before it and has an effect on what comes after it. In other words, the plan of care allows events to flow from one to another and at times even overlap one another. By following the nursing process, not only are the patient's human needs looked at and addressed, but also the tasks that need to be performed which allows for a better level of care.