What Does Intervention Mean?
What do you think of when you hear the word intervention? You might have heard the term used in regards to efforts made to help those with drug and/or alcohol problems. You may also be familiar with it as a television program. While that is a commonly used meaning of the word, in the nursing world, it has a broader meaning.
When nurses care for patients they follow the nursing process. This includes making a plan and setting goals for the patient. Nursing interventions are the actual treatments and actions that are performed to help the patient to reach the goals that are set for them. The nurse uses his or her knowledge, experience and critical-thinking skills to decide which interventions will help the patient the most.
There are different classifications of nursing interventions that can involve care of the entire patient. This can be anything from promoting bowel functioning, educating the patient on new medication side-effects or just keeping the patient safe. Interventions can be focused on basic physiological needs, complex physiological needs, behavioral functioning, promoting safety, caring for the family, using the health system and/or the overall health of the community. As nurses, we are caring for the total patient, so there are can be interventions concerning every area of the patient's life.
Example of Nursing Intervention
To get a sense of how interventions work, let's take the case of an imaginary patient, Mrs. James. Mrs. James has recently been admitted into the hospital. She is a 72-year-old female with a blood pressure reading of 200/100. She is complaining of a headache and dizziness. We are going to learn some of the nursing interventions that we could provide while caring for Mrs. James. Now let's see how different types of nursing interventions might be applied to Mrs. James.
Types of Nursing Interventions
Some of the nursing interventions will require a doctor's order and some will not. There are different types of interventions: independent, dependent and interdependent. Let's learn about each and go over a few examples:
- Independent - These are actions that the nurse is able to initiate independently. The following would be an example of a health promotion nursing intervention, which is an independent nursing action:
- Mrs. James has started a new medication for her high blood pressure. She is concerned about the side-effects and is refusing to take the medication. The nurse intervenes by educating the patient on the purpose of the medication, the side-effects of the medication and the possible consequences of high blood pressure.
- Dependent - These interventions will require an order from another health care provider such as a physician:
- Mrs. James's blood pressure is consistently 180/100. The nurse reports this to the physician. The physician orders an antihypertensive medication for the patient. The nurse administers the oral medication to the patient as ordered.
- Interdependent - These are going to require the participation of multiple members of the health care team:
- Mrs. James reveals to the nurse that she consumes a diet very high in sodium. The nurse includes diet counseling in the patient care plan. To help the patient even more, the nurse enlists the help of the dietician that is available in their facility to spend time with Mrs. James to educate her on the role that diet plays in the control of high blood pressure.
How Do We Select Nursing Interventions?
So how does the nurse know what to do? How do they know which interventions to select? Nurses must use their knowledge, experience, resources, research of evidence-based practice, the counsel of others and critical-thinking skills to decide which nursing interventions would best benefit a specific patient. Nursing care plan books and computer programs are available that include generic nursing interventions for different problems and diagnoses, but these must then be individualized to specific patients and adapted to their situation.
Did It Work?
So did the intervention work? Did we meet the goal? Once the intervention is performed, it must then be evaluated to see if it was successful in obtaining the goal we had for the patient. Interventions can be revised if needed once they are evaluated. After educating Mrs. James on the need for her anti-hypertensive medication, Mrs. James decides to take her medication. Therefore, the independent nursing intervention of health promotion regarding her medications was effective.
Why Nursing Interventions Matter
It is vital that nurses are familiar with nursing interventions. Many times these are part of written or computerized care plans decided in advance, but sometimes, they are interventions that must be done in the moment as events occur. It is essential that the nurse be prepared through education and experience to provide the best nursing care for each patient. The examples of nursing interventions are limitless - they are what we do to care for our patients to give them the quality of care that they deserve.
Nursing interventions are the actual treatments and actions that are performed to help the patient to reach the goals that are set for them. The nurse uses his or her knowledge, experience and critical-thinking skills to decide which interventions will help the patient the most. There are different types of interventions: independent, dependent and interdependent. After a nurse uses education and experience to select an intervention, an evaluation must be performed to determine whether or not the intervention was a success.
Nursing Intervention Overview
|Intervention||efforts made to help others|
|Nursing interventions||the actual treatments and actions that are performed to help the patient to reach the goals that are set for them|
|Classifications||can be anything from promoting bowel functioning, educating the patient on new medication side-effects or just keeping the patient safe|
|Independent||actions that the nurse is able to initiate on their own|
|Dependent||interventions will require an order from another health care provider such as a physician|
|Interdependent||require the participation of multiple members of the health care team|
|Evaluation||must be performed to determine whether or not the intervention was a success|
|Preparation||education and experience necessary to provide the best nursing care for each patient|
This lesson was presented for the purpose of preparing you to:
- Realize the meaning and importance of nursing intervention
- Convey knowledge of nursing intervention classifications
- Construct a list of the types of nursing interventions
- Outline the process by which interventions are selected
- Discuss the necessity of an evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of an intervention
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