How Nurses Use Diagnostic Testing To Help Their Patients

Have you ever visited your doctor with pain, an injury or unfamiliar symptoms? If so, you’ve probably experienced firsthand the need for diagnostic testing. Diagnostic testing is used to detect health issues, monitor them as time passes and help devise a treatment plan to address them. If you visit your doctor with symptoms which they believe might be caused by a particular illness, for example, they will likely order a range of tests to evaluate your health and vitals. These are called diagnostic tests because they help doctors diagnose a specific issue and devise treatment options for their patients.

Nurses Use Diagnostic Testing

Types of Diagnostic Testing

There are a few different kinds of diagnostic testing to consider. Invasive and non-invasive are the two main categories of diagnostic testing, although there are certainly others.

You might already be familiar with the idea of invasive versus noninvasive, but we’ll give a quick overview just in case. An invasive diagnostic test refers to a test that involves entering the body or puncturing or slicing the skin in some way. Taking blood samples, conducting biopsies and administering colonoscopies are all examples of invasive diagnostic testing.

Noninvasive testing, on the other hand, does not require any of the above. X-rays are an example of noninvasive testing.

How Are Nurses Involved?

Are you interested in becoming a nurse? If so, you should know that many diagnostic tests can be performed by nurses. They can work directly with their patients and support them every step of the way throughout the diagnostic process. Due to their independence and the life-changing differences they make in patients’ lives, nurses are some of the most satisfied professionals in the country.

This is one of the main reasons why many choose nursing as their career pathway. Reputable institutions such as Rockhurst University ensure that their graduates reap the full benefits of their career decision through their meticulously designed online ABSN program, which equips students with outstanding technical skills.

With a variety of nursing programs offered primarily online, it has never been easier for working professionals to transition into the field of nursing. Now, let’s review some of the technology and equipment used by nurses in conducting diagnostic tests.

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Blood Pressure Cuffs

One of the most common diagnostic tools used in the medical field is the blood pressure cuff. This simple-to-use technology can, and has, saved lives. Nurses must understand not only how to apply them safely, but also how to use them and effectively read the results.

Accurate use of this basic equipment is one of the first things nurses are taught to do during their education. Professionals who understand how to use cuffs can determine if patients are in immediate danger due to heart issues and get them prompt treatment if so.

Mobile Electronic Charting System

With an increasing number of healthcare facilities relying on electronic health records, it is becoming more common to see mobile electronic charting systems used by nurses as they make their rounds.

This is often combined with a mobile vital signs kit and allows nurses to keep track of critical diagnostic information as it is collected as well as historical health information, including which tests have been performed and their results.

Pulse Oximeter

Yet another commonly used diagnostic tool that nurses employ is the pulse oximeter. While not a new technology, pulse oximeters have become more frequently used in the wake of COVID-19.

They measure the amount of blood hemoglobin with oxygen, making it easy to determine if patients are having a breathing issue they might not be aware of.

X-Rays And MRI’s

Depending on where in the country you are located and your training and educational background, you might be able to conduct X-rays and MRIs as a nurse. While this is not the case everywhere in the US, it is not uncommon for nurses to play a big role in the process. This is especially true of nurses who pursue a radiography specialization during either their education or their professional career.

Both X-rays and MRI’s are imaging diagnostic procedures used to examine internal structures to detect issues such as broken bones, chest obstructions, soft tissue injuries and tumors.

Nurses who understand how to use this kind of equipment are familiar with safe handling procedures, including the use of radiation protection to keep themselves, their patients and everyone else in the room safe.

How Does Diagnostic Testing in Nursing Help Patients?

Now that you understand more about how nurses perform diagnostic testing, let’s talk about how it helps patients. Firstly, diagnostic testing helps nurses make the most of their time with you.

The number of nurses and physicians in the healthcare industry in the US is shrinking, which means that professionals have tighter schedules to keep. The good news is that technology is making it easier than ever to provide first-class care quickly without compromising on quality.

With diagnostic tools used to not just determine the origin of a specific concern but also to monitor these potential health issues at all times, nurses have access to more detailed information than at nearly any other point in history.

It is easier than ever for nurses to access in-depth knowledge regarding their patients, their medical history and their current treatment needs without relying on the patient to answer any questions at all. This allows them to answer questions more thoroughly and track their patients’ progress more effectively with less rigorous attention than in the past.

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Diagnostic tools allow nurses to closely analyze any changes in their patient’s vitals, test results or behavior. Diagnostic technology simply automates some of the processes so that nurses can spend more time actually administering treatments, updating patients and answering questions and concerns.

Beyond streamlining nurses’ work and giving them more time to focus on critical elements of care, diagnostic testing also helps patients in a very simple way as it improves the accuracy of their care. In other words, it is not just the quality of care that is improved, but also the effectiveness of that care. Today’s nurses are often able to create detailed treatment plans providing precise and targeted healthcare solutions without taking up an inordinate amount of time.

Keep our information above in hand as you search for the right program and begin your journey to providing quality care.

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