How do nurses use pathophysiology?

How do nurses use pathophysiology?

Understanding pathophysiology can make a significant difference in every nurse’s career. 

In general, pathophysiology is defined as the functional changes caused by a particular disease or syndrome. Put simply, it answers the question “why are patients experiencing a specific illness”. 

When you understand what is going on in a patient’s body at the cellular level, you can gain invaluable knowledge on how to help them. 

If you are in nursing school, taking the University of Indianapolis DNP-AGPCNP program will give you an idea on what pathophysiology is and how it affects people in real life. 

Through this process, you can react to abnormal changes in patients with more speed and accuracy. This, in turn, leads to improved care and better patient outcomes. 

Now that we’ve established the importance of pathophysiology, you might be wondering how nurses can apply it in real-life situations. Keep scrolling to find out. 

Prioritize patients

A good nursing practice can include a lot of things. Showing empathy, making a true effort to put themselves in their patient’s shoes, and a person-centered care approach are all among these. 

But perhaps what makes a good nurse is being able to correctly prioritize patients. As a nurse, you will probably work with a huge number of patients. 

Having the ability to determine the order on whom, what and how patients will be seen is vital in understanding which issues to address first. 

So, how do you prioritize patients appropriately then? Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually science behind doing it. Enter pathophysiology. 

Let’s take a stomachache for instance. If you have expertise in pathophysiology, you would be able to identify whether the ailment is caused by food poisoning, lactose intolerance or a hiatus hernia. 

When nurses can identify the cause, they can highlight risk factors that may contribute to the increase or decline of an illness while ensuring that patients receive services based on their health history.

Provide patients peace of mind

There’s no getting around the fact that going to a hospital can create a lot of uneasiness for most people. 

As a matter of fact, studies show that around one-quarter of individuals who avoid medical care said that they do so because they feel uncomfortable. 

Anxious patients do not recover as easily and may even lengthen their illness because of an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol. 

Prolonged exposure to stress hormones can adversely impact the immune and nervous systems. This can lead to patient systems becoming more inefficient and triggering autoimmune diseases as a result of overstimulation of the body’s immunity. 

While some aches and pains are inevitable due to medical conditions, there are ways to improve patient comfort. This includes pathophysiology. 

A nurse trained in pathophysiology can give the patients the needed reassurance to help stay calm throughout a terrible ordeal and ensure that they can heal. 

Although it’s the doctor’s job to diagnose and treat illnesses, explaining to patients why they are undergoing specific tests will give them peace of mind. 


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