Florence Nightingale is said to be one of the major influences in nursing throughout history and today. In 1898, she wrote Notes on Nursing What it is, and What it is Not. Her ‘notes’ on nursing outline many of the nursing practices used and implemented in today’s practices. Observation in patient’s is a key element in being able to give proper care and gathering the proper data, as well as being able to properly assess and monitor the patient to enable them to make decisions involving their own healthcare. Nurses play a key element in proper care and diagnosis of patients. Many nurses have had prior experience working in the healthcare industry. Many enter into the field of nursing having been Nurse Aides or Medical Assistants. These careers are more tasks oriented and require good patient care in order to succeed. The delivery of good patient care will no longer be sufficient, as one enters the field of nursing. Making observations and critical thinking skills about those observations now become a key part in the patient’s condition. (R. Ramont, 2012, p. 10) In making the proper nursing diagnoses, data must be collected from the patient and/or their family members.
Other than gathering data from verbalization, data can be gathered by observation. Many times observation can tell you more than what is actually being verbalized. The primary means of observation is visually, however all of the senses are used during careful observation. The nurse can detect various breath or body odors through smell. Breath sounds; heart rate and rhythm, and bowel sounds can all be heard. The ability in which the client can verbally communicate and the way their voice fluctuates, showing their feelings, can all be detected by listening. When the nurse touches the patient, many things can be detected as well. The body temperature, moisture content, muscle strength, as well as any skin abnormalities, can be detected through touch. (R. Ramont, 2012, pp. 77-78) Observation through the senses can tell a lot about a patient and their health status. Patients need constant care and status updates in order to maintain proper care. Changes in a patient’s health constantly changes.
The nursing interventions change constantly with the health changes of the patient. The patient should be allowed to partake in his or her own healthcare decisions. In order for this to occur, the patient needs to be assessed and monitored appropriately and be involved in his or her own care decisions. (R. Ramont, 2012, p. 49) It has been more than a century since Florence Nightingale wrote her notes on nursing. Her beliefs and observations about how to be a successful nurse continue to be at the forefront of the nursing thought process. Proper patient observation is key in healthcare. If the nurse does not see the changes, the effects and the true conditions of the patients, then who is there to truly look after the ill? Nurses continue to be the primary advocates for the patients and we must be in constant observation to help them with their healthcare and the quality that they, we as humans all deserve.
R. Ramont, D. N. (2012). Comprehensive Nursing Care . Upper Saddle River: Pearson.