Nursing Care Plans

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Nursing care plans are outlines that detail the practical measures proposed for each patient's recovery. These outlines are usually, though not always, drawn up by nurses. Nursing care plans are the result of a thorough assessment of the patient's condition, and later, the conclusions as to how best treat that condition. A care plan can and often does change over time, as the patient's status changes.

It is the responsibility of the caregivers--nurses, doctors, and other involved health care professionals--to provide regular patient reassessments in order to maintain the accuracy of nursing care plans. Care plan accuracy is extremely important, for it ensures that the patient receives the appropriate treatment. On the other hand, inaccurate care plans can be extremely dangerous.

Ensuring Accurate Nursing Care Plans

If not updated and corrected, an outdated care plan can cause the delivery of inappropriate treatment, which could result in harm to the patient. All humans make mistakes on the job, but in the case of nursing, these mistakes can be a matter of life and death. This is why nursing care plans must be created and maintained with unflagging vigilance.

Though the entire medical team shares accountability for care plans, nurses are usually considered to be ultimately responsible for them. Regardless of whether this is fair or prudent, this situation is the reality for most medical environments. For this reason, nurses need to protect themselves, as well as their patients, by drawing on the best, most accurate medical texts when making their assessments and drawing up patient care plans.

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