5 Ways to Improve Your Nursing Care Plans in 2019


5 Ways to Improve Your Nursing Care Plans in 2019

By Alana Luna, Contributor

A nursing care plan gives you a focused, tailored blueprint that directs patient care and ensures each of your charges gets the attention — medical and otherwise — he or she needs. Learn how to build on the basic nursing care plans you learned in school, and find new ways to improve the patient experience and streamline your workday.

5 nursing care plan improvements for 2019

1. Work on communication

A great nursing care plan requires a steady flow of data from patient to nurse to the rest of the healthcare team. Communication techniques like the Social 10 have been shown to strengthen trust between nurses and their patients, a rapport that may help patients be more forthcoming and help you design a more personalized, effective care plan.

2. Hone your attention to detail

Effective nurse care plans are built on minutiae. Non-verbal cues are easy to miss but could offer significant clues as to a patient’s status and needs. Learning how to be an effective listener helps you be more present, keep an open mind and ask clarifying questions that convey empathy while also broadening your understanding of the issue at hand.

3. Find new ways to manage your time

Given their highly customized nature, nursing care plans can be time consuming to create and execute. Use resources such as the American Nurses Association’s guidelines for the nursing process to craft a template that covers key plan elements, including:

  • Data collection and patient assessment
  • Nursing diagnosis
  • Target outcomes/patient goals
  • Proposed actions and interventions
  • Monitoring and revaluation 

4. Regularly consult trustworthy resources

Your nursing care plan should be a fact-based, science-backed document. To double-check your diagnoses or get help during the assessment phase, refer to the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA). They update their database every year, so you can trust that you’ll find current information to best inform your decision-making process.

5. Rethink how and where you plan

While templates can save time, a standardized approach can also come at the cost of individualized care. One possible solution is to implement bedside reporting, a practice linked to a number of benefits including a drop in patient anxiety, heightened patient involvement and understanding, more accountability on the part of nurses and fewer mistakes. The in-the-moment nature of bedside documentation also means your recollections are fresh and the patient is able to be an active participant.

Nursing care plans play an integral role in achieving optimal patient outcomes. By committing to improving your planning techniques in 2019, you’re ensuring continuity of care and giving patients the care they deserve.

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