An In-Depth Look into the Nursing Process

Contrary to popular belief, nurses do more than simply draw blood and take bandages. Behind every action is a carefully developed universal process that ensures the quality of each patient's care.

What is the Nursing Process?

The nursing process is a modified version of the scientific method. It is used in the medical profession to assess client needs and create a course of action to address and solve patient problems. Developed by Ida Jean Orlando in 1958, this method is used by nurses to balance out the usage of scientific evidence and personal interpretation when diagnosing and treating a medical patient. Critical thinking and intuition often play a part in this process. Although the resident nurse is in charge of the entire process at all times, every nurse uses this method when caring for patients.

About Ida Jean Orlando

Born in 1926, Ida Jean Orlando was the first generation of her Italian family. Ida received a nursing diploma from the New York Medical College and a BS in nursing from St. John's University. While working as a professor at Yale, Orlando worked on grant project called �Integration of Mental Health Concepts in a Basic Nursing Curriculum.� During this research, Orlando developed the Nursing Process Theory. In addition to her nursing career, Orlando served as a nursing consultant both nationally and internationally.

Nursing Process Steps

The modern day Nursing Process has 5 steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. These steps are detailed phases with their own set of actions designed streamline patient care. The phases are also used as a framework for building a nursing care plan around the details of each patient's specific needs. Each step is recorded for the reference of the whole health care team to ensure quality care. As the process is always ongoing, there is no set amount of time for any one step to begin or be completed.

Characteristics of the Process

This process is cyclical. While the phases are ongoing, the actual process can end any time if the patient's problems are solved. The method is designed to be applied to any individual, family, or community need. While the nursing process is generally used for medical problems, it was also developed to help with emotional or social needs of patients as well. Above all, the nursing process is goal-oriented. It is used to make client-centered, measurable, realistic goals for individual or community wellness improvement.

Impact on the Medical Field

This process was developed to force hospitals to treat patients as people, as opposed to identification numbers. Implementation requires constant interaction between the caregiver and the patient. Additionally, each resulting care plan is personalized to fit the patient's personality and needs. The process also helps provide guidelines for patient care and typically improves patient outcomes.

For some nursing students, the nursing process can be a difficult concept to grasp at first. However, once put into practice, this method becomes almost like second nature.