Nurses man the front line of the battle for the welfare of medical patients. They are the often the first medical staff that is available to respond to a patient’s needs and are intrinsically linked to the constant care their charges often require. This sample nursing essay explores the issue of nurses and patient care and the use of the SBAR technique in order to positively impact their professional capacities.
Patient care in the nursing industry
Nurses are in a unique position to be able to identify areas of need that could improve patient care however they do not have any of the decision making powers to be able to implement any changes. To resolve this dilemma, nurses must have quality communication skills in order to advocate for their patients and communicate the need for change to those in upper management positions.
The nurses are able to use the communication tool of the SBAR to be able to effectively communicate to management as described by Haig, (2006).
“The importance of sharing a common mental model in communication prompted efforts to spread the use of the SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) tool” (Haig, 2006 167).
The tool provides nurses with the format needed to be able to make educated recommendations that would be taken seriously by those in decision-making positions.
Using the SBAR to identify patient needs
The nurse would first identify a problem or issue in patient care that needs to be addressed, which would be the situation. They would then provide the background information for why the problem has been occurring, which would be the background. The nurse would need to discuss the various factors that could occur if the problem is left untreated, which would be the assessment. The nurse would then formulate a solution to the problem, which would be the recommendation.
The hospital administration would then be able to make a well-informed decision about whether a new policy should be implemented. The benefits of the SBAR tool is that it allows the nurse to formulate a thorough proposal. The tool is also able to be utilized by anyone from a nursing student to a seasoned nurse. This is especially beneficial for new nurses as identified by Thomas (2009).
“Nursing students lack experience in communicating with physicians. As a result, recent graduates may not be prepared to meet the demands of professional communication to ensure patient safety” (Thomas, 2009 176).
Weighing the needs of the patient against the needs of the healthcare facility is one of the biggest problems in nursing ethics. The SBAR tool empowers nursing students to place themselves in the position to influence hospital policy. The SBAR tool is an easy and efficient method for communicating the recommendations of nurses.
Haig, K. M., Sutton, S., & Whittington, J. (2006). SBAR: A shared mental model for improving communication between clinicians. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 32(3), 167-175.
Thomas, C. M., Bertram, E., & Johnson, D. (2009). The SBAR communication technique: teaching nursing students professional communication skills. Nurse Educator, 34(4), 176-180.