Nursing is justly regarded as one of the most honorable professions. Its importance becomes especially obvious in a time of global uncertainty and the need for well-coordinated actions to prevent common health issues, such as hypertension, without exposing patients to the risks of contagious diseases. This paper summarizes my experiences and thoughts related to the last three assessments, including problem identification, plan proposal, and product development. The assessments have encouraged me to develop and polish multiple skills, including those related to literature analysis, intervention planning, interprofessional collaboration, patient communication, and adapting educational materials to patients’ abilities and needs.
The first assessment involved the identification of a common problem in nursing practice and conducting an initial review of professional literature to understand the problem’s characteristics. This stage of working on a project required me to demonstrate well-developed information search and generalization skills to single out concerns that occurred in different populations, involved life-threatening consequences and were surrounded by misconceptions. For adult patients, hypertension met all of the mentioned criteria, which encouraged me to delve into health literacy interventions to reduce its incidence.
The starting phase of the project has taught me to search for and assess potentially relevant information. During that stage, good literature evaluation skills, including being able to single out the most practically relevant and reliable articles, were central to success (Huang et al., 2017). It was important for me to learn that nurses’ insufficient ability to comprehend scientific research is a significant barrier to innovation and improvement (Huang et al., 2017). The experience of reading and evaluating scientific articles has significantly broadened my horizons when it comes to the state of research on the contributors to hypertension. In particular, I was amazed by the findings from research in tribal communities, according to which unhealthy habits were connected with hypertension even more than aging (Wu, 2019). That and other takeaways encouraged me to emphasize hypertension prevention about lifestyle modifications.
The next assessment, the proposal, has supported my attempts to polish the essential skills required to translate the available evidence into well-considered and cost-effective health promotion decisions. Having completed the intervention planning stage, I realize that being a committed nurse is impossible without good emotional intelligence and skills in needs analysis. The health literacy intervention to reduce the incidence of hypertension was aimed at high-risk populations for the condition, including the patients of advanced age and those with BMI levels above normal. Considering the groups’ dissimilar health and learning needs, collaboration with more experienced providers was required to plan interventions that would be beneficial to both groups and would not include questionable recommendations. The second assessment taught me to conduct a holistic analysis of the healthcare institution’s situation, opportunities for teaching patients, considerations or barriers related to federal- and state-level healthcare policies, and opportunities for interprofessional communication. For me, the essential challenges of intervention planning and how to cope with them have become clearer due to the assessment.
To continue, the stage of product development or the third assessment has been a period of discoveries related to the art of interprofessional and interpersonal communication. The first aspect of the task encouraging my professional growth was the need for collaboration to ensure the best possible results for vulnerable populations with high blood pressure. The correct identification of the patients’ learning needs was required to do that, and I decided to interview two primary care nurses and two physicians to consider their experiences. That collaboration was quite fruitful and provided me with good evidence to prove the existence of significant knowledge gaps to be filled, including the pervasiveness of myths about the physical symptoms of hypertension. The preliminary conclusions were then solidified and supported due to additional evidence from interviews with three patients representing the target population. The experience of interviewing those patients to understand their knowledge levels was beneficial to my leadership and patient communication competencies. More specifically, differences between the three patients related to auditive acuity, memory skills, and vocabulary encouraged me to adapt my approach to interviewing to each person’s needs, thus ensuring mutual understanding.
Aside from practice-oriented takeaways associated with professional communication, the third assessment made me delve into the peculiarities of handout development and study the advantages of short structured handouts. The first practical concern that attracted my attention was ensuring the readability of the contents for an average adult reader – the issue that is often ignored (Leonard, 2017). Fortunately, the use of relatively short paragraphs and sentences, as well as structuring information with the help of bulleted lists, supported the patients’ ability to use the tool as a reminder list. Another issue that I had to solve was the need to introduce lifestyle modifications without encouraging any practices that could involve risks, such as unproven weight loss methods or ill-considered decisions regarding exercise.
To sum it up, the work on the process improvement project has motivated me to take a critical look at my skills and emphasize acquiring new knowledge linked with hypertension education and health promotion. Particularly, the tasks have strengthened my conviction that a professional nurse should consider the limitations set by the epidemiological situation, readability levels, and the essential features of common types of patient education materials when planning educational sessions. This new knowledge in the field of intervention planning will contribute to my ability to make positive changes for patients’ health.
Huang, F. F., Zhang, N., Han, X. Y., Qi, X. N., Pan, L., Zhang, J. P., & Li, H. (2017). Improve nursing in evidence-based practice: How Chinese nurses read and comprehend scientific literature. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 4(3), 296-302.
Leonard, K. (2017). Evaluating patient education materials for grade level. Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, 21(1), 87-94.
Wu, Z. S. (2019). Importance must be attached to correcting unhealthy lifestyles in prevention and control of hypertension. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 16(3), 176-177.