Advantages of using written care plans for psychiatric nurses

One of the most important things, but often viewed more as a waste of time than anything else, is the maintenance of written care plans that needs to be maintained by the team of nurses attending on a patient.  While written care plans can be of use to all types of nurses, psychiatric nurses might find it more useful than others for the simple reason that they work more in tandem and co-operation with the patient.   The other types of nurses concentrate primarily on nursing for the patient.

Written care plan, in simple terms, refers to the roadmap for the most optimal treatment, care and assistance to the patient.  It starts after the completion of the first and comprehensive assessment of the patient, especially one who is suffering from some sort of mental disorder such as depression or schizophrenia.

Another salient feature of having written care plans is that it is not a one-time event recorded at the beginning of the treatment, but a continuous process, recording all the events, medications, reactions, developments and such other therapeutic conditions.  The process will end only after the patient has been discharged from the hospital or health care center.

The psychiatric nurse needs to put in paper the actual problem of the patient and view the possible solutions for the problem in the light of patient’s capability, coping strength, co-operation and such other things.  As the nurse goes ahead with the project of identification of the major problems, he or she will find smaller problems.  Once every problem is analyzed in the written care plan and synchronized with the patient’s assessment, then a solution emerges from the written care plans that will ultimately result in optimal road map for care and treatment.

Members of the nursing team attending on the patient can, at a glance, have a clear understanding of the problem and the course of treatment opted out, thus paving for continuity in the treatment and health care.

These written care plans can be very useful for preparation of the shift change report, and the incoming nurse need not repeat the routine tasks yet again.  He or she can have a look at the written care plan and follow the medication suggested and being presently continued.   In other words, there will be some amount of consistency in the way treatment, medication and care is extended to the patient.

A well maintained written care plan will make it much easier for the nurse to do the documentation part of the work at the end of the day for each patient.

Working in tandem with a team of nursing professionals and the patient in a consistent manner with shared views on the care and assistance through the effective use of the written care plans provides that extra satisfaction for having made an impact on the patient’s life.

In the absence of written care plans, there is every possibility that a new nurse taking charge in a shift might resort to an intervention that might prove ineffective in the overall treatment plan.  Frustration that may arise due to ineffective interventions can be greatly avoided or eliminated with the maintenance of written care plans.  Because there will be consistency and continuity in patient care with written care plans.

Realizing the importance and effectiveness of maintaining written care plans, nurses should be encouraged or advised to strictly adhere to the practice of using written care plans.

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