Importance of Family Nursing
The importance of family nursing practices was not recognized until late twentieth century when the need for family nursing became a burning issue for the system of health care. In this respect, the family became an integral part of the health care system because the family in whole was considered a client of the nursing practices as well as each separate member of the family under discussion. As such, it became apparent that the system of nursing needs reforms and reorganization that would meet the needs of families in health care.
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For instance, as suggested by Friedman, Bowden, and Jones (2003), “the first family nursing is conceptualized as a field where the family is viewed as context to the client or family member” (p. 32). In other words, recognizing a family as an influential context to the client’s health and diseases, a nurse can take appropriate measures on the way to effective treatment. Moreover, health care professionals should approach the needs of family members with regard to the needs of the family.
Family as a System
Nursing and family
Family works as a system in promoting the health of its members because every member is vulnerable to some infections while this condition can be influential t other members of the family. Besides, different demographic and socioeconomic factors can impact the health of the family with regard to the health of each member separately. The interdependence of family members on each other and their mutual dependence on different factors makes the family a separate client with its specific needs and expectations. In this respect, family can be viewed and treated as a sum of its members, as a client, or as a component of a society (Friedman, Bowden, and Jones, 2003, pp. 33-34).
The family nursing is based on recognition of the family’s needs when the peculiar features of each family member are clear and nursing staff can address the needs of each member effectively. As health care providers may be unaware of the peculiarities related to the health condition of other family members and different factors influencing each member, it is necessary to develop family nursing practices applying various family nursing theories aimed at explaining the relation between health conditions of different family members.
Family and family members
Family members are basic components in the assessment, analysis, and treatment of family and each member as a part of the family. As such, it is necessary to remember about the factors that can influence family members in such nursing practice environment as an Acute Care Hospital (Veterans Affairs) that provides veterans with adequate treatment with regard to their specific needs, especially if this concerns entire families.
As Friedman, Bowden, and Jones (2003) claim, “in episodic settings – especially in intensive care units and emergency departments, where immediate lifesaving measures are needed – a predominant patient focus is undesirable” (p. 36). This means that Acute Care Hospital is, in some way, is removed from the family nursing practices and issues, especially compared to other specialty areas which means that family nursing can be ineffective to the extent it is effective in other specialty areas or fail to accomplish the mission f family practice at all.
Concept of Family
The concept used in the Acute Care Hospital (Veterans Affairs)
Though there are many concepts of family that can be applied to family nursing practices, the Acute Care Hospital as a part of the Veterans Affairs system cannot include all family concepts. However, most concepts can be considered applicable to the Acute Care Hospital for Veterans Affairs system aimed at rehabilitation and treatment of veterans who defend the honor of their country. In this respect, children and husbands/wives can find themselves near the patients to support them.
as little as 3 hours
However, it happens that acute care hospital is deprived of opportunity to provide family nursing help aimed at treating the patient with regard to the situation with other family members. Nevertheless, it happens that family members influence greatly the health condition of a veteran. As reported by Orem et al. (2003), patients should be treated in accordance with their needs for daily self-care, necessity of meeting with family members and friends with regard to certain economic or spiritual difficulties (p. 9).
The most helpful concept in family nursing practice
Congregate housing and home sharing are opportunities for elderly people in hospitals mentioned by Meiner (2005, p. 184). However, the acute care hospitals have difficulties with analyzing the family situations when veterans need acute help. For instance, it is problematic to assess the economic and spiritual conditions in the family if the patient was brought to the hospital by an ambulance and no other family members were with him at that moment. In this respect, the main problem is that acute care hospital for veterans provides a limited number of health care services and has no access to the information about the patient.
The period of treatment can bring some changes into this situation when family members and friends visit the patient. So, the nursing staff can analyze and evaluate the family relations of the patient and certain factors that can be influential for his/her health. For example, if the economic conditions of the family are worse than expected and the home environment is inappropriate for the extensive course of rehabilitation, the nursing staff should consider this component of the family nursing practice.
Theories in Nursing Practice
Analysis of theories
There are different theories in the field of family nursing. For instance, “Neuman’s model recognizes the definitions of the following four concepts that are commonly used in nursing practice: client, environment, health, and nursing (Sitzman and Eichelberger, 2010, p. 79). This model enables the nursing staff of the hospital to address the needs and illnesses of the patient with regard to other factors mentioned in this model. Nightingale’s environmental model suggests that “Examining environmental aspects, such as light, noise, or warmth can provide new insights into human responses to health and illness (Basavanthappa, 2007, p. 48).
At the same time, it is necessary to think about self-care and ability of the patient to take care of himself/herself at hospital and after being discharged from hospital. Thus, it is also possible to introduce the Orem’s self-care model into nursing practice (Butts and Rich, 2010, p. 614). As soon as the nursing staff can find the most reasonable balance and apply the most appropriate practices to patient care, the health care system may benefit from introduction of family nursing into all specialties of nursing.
The theory applicable to the acute care hospital for Veterans Affairs can adapt such strategies as those presented in the Neuman’s system model, Orem’s self-care model, and Nightingale’s environmental model that presupposes the analysis of environment to create the most appropriate conditions for the patient. However, the model suggested by Orem can be ineffective right at the beginning because the patients are brought to the acute care hospital because they are not able to take medicines and other means of medication prescribed by the physician.
In other words, the situation in the acute care hospital differs from other departments in terms of the character of trauma and illness and the way patients should be treated. Nevertheless, the environmental theory applied by Florence Nightingale can be considered conductive to the acute care hospital setting because it is important to take into account the conditions in which the patient finds himself/herself after being brought into the hospital and in the rehabilitation period.
The concept of family is a broad issue that needs consideration in order to be applied to the family nursing practices. Though the area of family nursing is a rather new specialty, different theories and models have been developed for more effective provision of health care services to patients. When regarding the acute care hospital for Veterans Affairs, the nursing staff has to assess the environment most appropriate for patients and create the best conditions because other models of family nursing activities such as Orem’s self-care model do not seem to be applicable for the acute care hospital because patients are not able to provide self-care activities to them. In other words, the importance of family nursing is not always applicable for all specialties in nursing.
Basavanthappa, B. T. (2007). Nursing theories. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Publishers.
Butts, J. B., and Rich, K. L. (2010). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Friedman, M. M., Bowden, V. R., and Jones, E. G. (2003). Family nursing: Research, theory, and practice (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Meiner, S. E. (2005). Gerontologic nursing. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Orem, D. E., McLaughlin Renpenning, K., and Taylor, S. G. (2003). Self-care theory in nursing: Selected papers of Dorothea Orem. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Sitzman, K., and Eichelberger, L. W. (2010). Understanding the work of nurse theorists: A creative beginning (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.