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Clinical Systems Leadership

How Good Nurses Increase the Population's Life Expectancy

All over the world, nurses play an integral role in reducing infections and healing illness, thereby contributing to an increase in the population’s life expectancy. The legacy of nurses having such a crucial hand in public health extends back through many decades to the 1850s. Take a look at the ways in which good, competent nurses help keep people healthy so they can live longer lives.

Overseeing Proper Sanitation and Hygiene

clean hands

Image via Flickr by Arlington County

Called to clean up hospitals in Turkey during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale tackled unsanitary conditions to reduce mortality rates among wounded British servicemen. A basic step today was a radical idea to Nightingale’s peers: she implemented hand washing, a practice that became commonplace well beyond the walls of hospitals. In addition, she understood and promoted the importance of clean linens, clean facilities, and a pest-free environment. Radical for the time, Nightingale’s efforts changed medicine forever, improving the life expectancy of anyone who stays in a hospital.

Administering Medicine

Image via Flickr by blakespot

Nurses typically are the ones who administer medicine to patients in hospitals. They use “five rights” to ensure they give the right medicine in the right dose at the right time via the right route to the right patient. Without nurses being committed to these five checks each time they give medicine, patients could be at risk of receiving the wrong medicine, or too much medicine, situations that could harm the patient’s health. Nurses extended the life expectancy of patients through their commitment to correctly administering medicine.

In South Africa and other places dealing with widespread HIV, nurses are often the ones who administer life-extending medicine. Because of the nature of the illness and the drugs that treat it, it’s critical that patients receive precisely timed doses. Nurses make an impact by overseeing this process carefully.

Handling Paperwork


Image via Flickr by Medill DC

By accurately tracking treatments, medical events, and other aspects of their patients’ health history, nurses create the record that allows doctors to understand their patients better.Their careful records for personal health data and medication history help ensure that patients get the best care because doctors can use the information to develop and adjust a treatment plan to suit the individual patient. Through their careful notations, nurses add finer details to medical care, which extends life expectancy.

Reducing Stress


Image via Flickr by jpalinsad360

Because patients in a hospital know they can call on a nurse anytime of the day or night, they can rest better. The proximity and competency of nurses helps patients worry less about the care they’re receiving. Whether they experience pain, have questions, or even just need another pillow, nurses often are the ones who respond to these requests and provide the comfort patients need. Doing so allows patients to feel less anxiety about their illness so they can focus on their recovery.

With their attention to detail and dedication to comforting patients, nurses are essential in extending the life expectancy of the population. They also contribute to decreasing the stress of patients and ensure patient records accurately reflect vital data and medication history.

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