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Benefits of Point-of-Care Testing in Nursing

As new healthcare technologies and quality improvement methods emerge, nurses must adapt to shifts in operational excellence, including those in nursing administration roles. In recent years, changes have occurred in the various forms of patient care, such as point-of-care testing (POCT).

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), “point-of-care tests produce rapid, reliable results that aid in identification and monitoring of acute infections or chronic disease. POCT involves screenings and tests at or near the point of care, which produce actionable results within minutes.”

The objectives of POCT include identifying, monitoring, modifying and reducing specific measures related to individual patients’ health. These tests are beneficial across healthcare for many reasons. Healthcare professionals can detect problems promptly and prevent further damage to their patients, who can regain and sustain their health for longer, allowing them to thrive well into their elder years.

Additionally, nurses benefit from point-of-care testing knowledge. They can better determine what methods to apply for the best possible care. With this skill set in place, they can guide their patients toward a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Enhancing Patient Care

The ultimate goal of nursing is to ensure all individuals can live healthy lives, free from overwhelming diseases and infections. The point-of-care system allows nurses to enhance patient care through various steps.

ScienceDirect describes the benefits of POCT, which “include elimination of sample transportation to the central laboratory, minimal sample processing … simple analytic process, minimal sample requirement … and very rapid availability of results.”

When patients are shuffled between facilities, they might become irritable or worried something is drastically wrong. Incorporating in-house testing allows patients to receive results without leaving the facility where they initiated care. In this way, point-of-care testing eliminates the unknown and enables patients to get involved with — and take charge of — their health.

Economic Impact

Despite the advantages of POCT, some healthcare professionals claim that economic benefits are nonexistent for this care method because point-of-care testing is fairly new to the healthcare industry. Not all health systems are utilizing this advanced approach.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) states, “POC tests may, in some cases, be relatively expensive compared with central laboratory testing. Even for POC tests with proven acceptable accuracy and effectiveness, concerns remain about the cost effectiveness of the tests.”

At this time, administrators cannot determine the exact economic impact of POCT. There is simply not enough evidence or information on this topic. However, patients who have experienced POCT are highly accepting and believe it has improved their overall health.

“The lack of evidence on POCT is not the primary barrier to its implementation and … the low uptake of these tests in clinical practice is due to (a combination of) other barriers,” explains the NLM.

Cultivate Care Excellence With a Master’s Degree

One way to cultivate care excellence is to further your career and earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who enroll in the online RN to MSN – Nursing Administration program at Texas A&M International University will broaden their nursing practice and prepare to advance into a healthcare management role.

Students will focus on skills to improve patient outcomes and apply business and leadership best practices. The program guides students in combining leadership, management, negotiating, teaching and consulting roles. Nurses will also learn to address changing societal and environmental needs.

For example, the Healthcare Policy & Social Justice course covers the basics of healthcare policy and cultural and ethical issues in patient care. In the Transformational Leadership course, students focus on analyzing, synthesizing and applying management science to address current and emerging transitions in healthcare systems.

Students who want to expedite their coursework can complete the ACEN-accredited program in as few as 18 months. Each future nurse administrator will gain the knowledge and skills required to enter influential roles in healthcare, such as director of nursing, clinical nurse leader, patient care director or nursing supervisor.

Learn more about Texas A&M International University’s online RN to MSN – Nursing Administration program.

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