One of the more frequently asked questions we get is what exactly does a Nurse Consultant do? A nurse consultant provides clinical knowledge and expertise to various clients within healthcare facilities or in other industries. The nurse consultant position was developed in 1999 by the Department of Health with four levels of practice. The nurse consultant post is considered the highest level of expertise.
Nurse consultants are expected to provide expert care and exhibit leadership in clinical or public health settings. Experienced nurses may be offered to provide consultancy services to senior healthcare professionals.
Nurse Consultant Definition
Nursing consultancy can also mean the process of transferring the knowledge that the consultant has to the client organization. The clinical expertise of a nurse consultant is necessary for the improvement of the business operations in the organization. The expertise and knowledge of nurse consultants will aid the clients in accomplishing health-related goals and programs.
Being a nurse consultant not only requires knowledge in theory but in practice as well. Knowledge in nursing is vital but it is the years of experience that make nurse consultants valuable in various sectors of society.
Development of Nursing Consultancy
The nursing consultancy was first developed to address the growing importance of keeping more experienced nurses in practice. The availability of nurse consultants can significantly reduce the working hours of junior doctors who often provide consultancy services. Experienced clinical nurses are usually offered career advancement opportunities and commensurate salaries.
- The Department of Health has declared that nurse consultants are responsible for areas involving professional leadership and consultancy, expert practice, and service development for evaluation and research.
- Nurse consultants are to spend half of their time performing expert clinical practice as well as interact with patients and clients.
In recent years, most nurse consultancy positions have developed in other areas of healthcare such as mental health, oncology, and critical care. Nurse consultants have been working in rehabilitation settings as well. The nature and level of the nurse consultancy will depend on the agreement made between the individual and the client or service requiring expert care and consultancy.
Legal Nurse Consultant
Aside from healthcare settings, most nurse consultants in the United States work in legal or corporate settings. Legal nurse consultants provide clinical expertise to lawyers, paralegals, and judges. They are responsible for providing testimony in relevant court hearings. Legal nurse consultants research and analyze healthcare-related legal cases. A few examples are worker’s compensation and malpractice.
Corporate Nurse Consultants
Nurse consultants can also provide clinical expertise to corporations in a wide range of topics involving healthcare. Business organizations can include corporate nurse consultants in developing employee wellness programs or choosing a suitable health insurance plan. Nurse consultants can also work with pharmaceutical, information technology (IT) companies and medical equipment companies. They can assist in the development of information technology in healthcare.
Health and Wellness Program Design
Nurse consultants working in corporate settings can be self-employed or internal nurse consultants. Independent consultants usually provide services to multiple clients and are not employed by a single business organization. Consultants working independently charge clients with an hourly rate while internal consultants are paid a monthly salary.
Companies hire nurse consultants to work on projects related to occupational health and safety. Nurse consultants can help design ergonomic workspaces, implement work safety procedures. They can also provide health care services to large corporations on-site.
Quality Care Control
In healthcare facilities, nursing consultants can help design and implement rules and regulations in delivering quality care to patients. Quality care control programs can be established to ensure compliance by all healthcare personnel. Nurse consultations are there to research and evaluate current healthcare standards to keep hospitals up to date with any change. Examples of regulatory factors that affect the readiness of organizations if there are changes are unannounced surveys by regulating bodies, availability of regulatory information, and pay for performance methods.
These factors play a significant role in providing quality healthcare services. Nurse consultants can participate in the strategic planning of hospitals. Healthcare organizations are more responsive to regulations in terms of compliance because of their readiness to allocate resources in areas that need improvement of quality. The availability of more healthcare information allows nurse consultants to prepare and anticipate the changes.
Development of Health Information Technology Systems
Companies involved in developing healthcare information systems stand to benefit from the clinical expertise of nurse consultants. Nurse consultants can help improve the activities that have been involved in conventional health information systems. Healthcare information systems can cover transfers, admissions, and discharges, to the billing systems. Computerized physician order entries (CPOE), picture archiving, and communication systems form part of the electronic medical recording. They are now more complicated and sophisticated tasks involved like clinical information management, simulation, processing of images, and laboratory systems.
There have been many revisions that have already been made with the health care information systems because of the lack of integration and other challenges that were connected to the acquisition of key information. As the importance of information has become significant to cost and the improvement of the efficiency of health care administration, there is more pressure being put on health information systems to come up with solutions to help organizations achieve their goals in quality health care management. It is in this area that nurse consultants are critical members of the organization.
There is a paradigm shift happening in the processing of health care information that would also correspond to the goals of health care providers. Healthcare providers are now more concerned with the ability to exchange data and patient information. Health care information systems should help in the improvement of patient care, at reduced cost and increase in service level.
In the education sector, nurse consultants provide services for hospital strategic planning and recommend subject areas as part of the nursing school’s curriculum. Nurse consultants also render their clinical expertise to physicians under continuing medical education (CME).
The demand for nurse consultants in hospitals, businesses, and nursing schools remains steady. A nurse consultant position brings many opportunities for further advancement should an experienced registered nurse decides to become one.
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