How do nurse practitioners provide family-centered care in primary settings?

Family-centered care is a model that involves nurse practitioners developing positive partnerships with patients and families. It prioritizes collaborations with each person in the family unit and aims to promote wellness while respecting each individual’s autonomy.

The core principle of family-centered care is that families will always be dedicated to improving and supporting each other’s health, both in the long and short term. By working with the family as a whole, NPs can improve their patients’ experience of the care system, feel more positive about their own role, and allocate their facility’s resources more effectively.

A nurse practitioner career

It’s a very fulfilling role and one that is now more accessible for busy working nurses, thanks to the development of remote learning. Universities such as Rockhurst have a range of online programs that are designed to fit in with the lifestyles of professional people.

An NP’s salary is generous in most parts of the US because medical professionals are in such high demand. To learn more about the highest-paid nurses by state, click here. Nurses who are planning to advance their careers should consider the Online Master of Science in Nursing—Family Nurse Practitioner program at Rockhurst University. They can expect local clinical placements, training for the AANP or ANCC FNP licensure exam, and the ability to graduate within three years.

Promoting healthy living 

As nurses are so frequently in contact with patients and families in a primary care setting, they can be highly influential when it comes to encouraging healthy living. This can be done through discussing positive changes to activities that go beyond diet and exercise. Moreover, as many nurse practitioners work from a community clinic, patients can visit them regularly for support and further guidance.

Discussing how the family manages its sleep schedule is important because getting restful sleep can be difficult, especially if young children are in the house. Nurse practitioners can discuss how to establish a sleep schedule that’s ideal for the family’s mental and physical health. As well as interruptions from babies or young children, sleep patterns can be impacted by a person’s lifestyle choices, age, and stress level. The nurse can provide information on developing a healthier pattern of sleep, as well as managing stress.

Managing stress has multiple health benefits, not least when it comes to avoiding conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. NPs will deliver clinical advice to educate families on dealing with stress. Stress is a part of all people’s lives, and therefore learning to cope with it is essential. Patients may be encouraged to share their feelings openly at home, find a hobby that relaxes them, or practice meditation.

Goal setting is another habit that nurse practitioners can encourage. By establishing realistic goals and helping to design a plan for achieving them, NPs enable patients to monitor their progress and remain on track. An example could be a patient who wanted to improve their fitness. The NP can work with them to select an activity, decide when it will take place, and find out if there are classes nearby so the patient has support from other people whilst working toward their goal.

Delivering preventative medicine to the entire family

Preventative care is a key factor in caring for people’s long-term health. Nurse practitioners use a range of techniques to provide education to their patients to help them avoid contracting a chronic condition and to promote their overall wellness. This service aims to nurture a population that is more informed about health, keen to live a healthier lifestyle, and able to access early treatment should they become ill.

There are three distinct types of preventative care; the first is referred to as primary prevention and focuses on providing patients with information. Here, nurse practitioners will provide education in their office, a clinic or a hospital setting. They counsel families to have more positive behaviors around health, such as following a balanced diet, giving up smoking, and always using a seat belt. As part of this, the NP will also provide immunizations to entire families.

Disease detection and screening for the early signs of a condition can prevent an illness from taking hold or worsening. If a problem is found, NPs will work with families and individuals to manage the risks that can be controlled. This could be through lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or taking more exercise.

Finally, tertiary forms of prevention are treatments that nurse practitioners offer to people with an existing condition. As well as designing a care plan and talking it through with the patient and their family, the NP will monitor what progress is being made. As part of this process, they can make modifications to the plan. The idea is to reduce the impact of the condition and prevent any additional complications.

Working to serve the needs of a diverse family unit

In the US, family units can come in all forms, and people define family in different ways. Some are groups that come together to support one another; some are linked through relationships, marriage, or birth. Moreover, the US is a culturally diverse nation. Therefore, family-centered care should include cultural competence and the ability to build relationships with patients from different backgrounds.

Part of this will involve acknowledging that diverse family units exist and being conscious of the varying dynamics in these groups. This enables an NP to adapt their service in a way that respects the traditions and beliefs of each family. Moreover, it ensures that the relationship between a medical professional and a family is empowering. This could be through allowing patients to participate in decision-making, about care for themselves and their children.

How does family-centered care support a better healthcare system?

By following a practice that concentrates on family-centered care, nurse practitioners have the opportunity to see things from their patient’s perspective. This can help them to become more engaged with their practice and as a result, improve the experience of care for their patients. Patients also benefit from receiving high-quality health care and knowing that their medical experiences are designed with their entire family in mind.

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