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Nurs Econ. 2004 Mar-Apr;22(2):100-2, 70.

How can nurses help patients work more effectively with nurses to improve the safety of patient care?

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  • 1Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX, USA.


The literature seems quite clear that patients still regard the nurse as the principal link between the technical and interpersonal aspects of their care. The often-discussed medical error crisis tends to create in the patient mistrust of all care providers. The health care industry is driving towards a system that requires patients to be self-reliant in managing their care, without allowing for factual limitations in patient capability, ability, and interest in such an enterprise. Unfortunately for the overworked, understaffed nurse, patients still look to them to provide quality compassionate care without the patient having to police them. Health care providers have been mandated to provide assessment and intervention for pain management. It was mandated because we as health care professionals failed to perform this vital function in a consistent, quality manner. It did add to the workload of the nurse. However, if done properly, it is a valuable communication tool for the nurse and the patient to comfortably discuss pain and its management--the interpersonal part of care.

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