The nursing process can be a confusing concept for nursing students to grasp. Below is an example of the process from start to finish in a story like fashion:
John visits his general physician on Monday because he was feeling sick over the weekend. When he is called back from the waiting room, the nurse on staff takes his temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. She then asks John a series of questions about how he's been feeling lately. The nurse notes his responses when he says he's been having difficulty breathing and has been feeling very tired. She also sees on John's medical history that he has had previous problems with his cholesterol levels and blood pressure. John also has a blood sample taken during his doctor's visit.
The nurse looks over John's symptoms and notes that his heart-rate is higher than average and his blood pressure is elevated. She also considers that he's experienced fatigue and shortness of breath before when his cholesterol levels were very high. The nurse determines that John is experiencing Hyperlipidemia, also known as having high levels of fat within the blood. John's blood tests confirm this hypothesis. The nurse is also concerned that John is at risk for heart disease.
John returns on Tuesday for a follow-up visit. The nurse sits down with him in a closed room and explains his cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. She suggests that John be put on medication to help lower these numbers and recommends he exercise at least twice a week. The nurse also tells John he should stay away from salty foods and eat less red meat. John agrees with the nurse, and they setup a follow-up appointment two weeks later. The nurse reminds John to call if there are any changes in his condition, or if he starts to feel worse.
John is prescribed the medication and takes it as recommended. One week later, he has a day where he feels especially sick and calls the doctor's office. The nurse explains that the medication could cause nausea as a side-effect and advises John to drink Ginger-Ale and avoid any foods that generally upset his stomach. John continues taking the medication and goes to the gym four times during the two week period. Once the two weeks has passed, he returns to the doctor's office for his follow-up appointment.
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When John returns, the nurse asks him a series of questions about how he's been feeling. John replies that he has been having an easier time breathing and feels significantly less tired since exercising and taking the medication. The nurse marks “Patient's Condition Improved” on his official medical records and congratulates John on his well being. She then advises him to remain on the medication for one more month and to continue his exercise.
Although there are calculated steps behind the nurse's approach, her methods are extremely friendly and warming and care is taken to treat the patient like a human being. As you can see, the nursing process will feel like second nature when put into real-world practice.