Introduction Nurses often work with patients who experience anxiety in their lives on different levels, which may exacerbate already existing health concerns or create new challenges for patients in other ways. It is expected that nurses will work with patients to identify the potential causes of anxiety and will utilize proven methods of treatment that will have a positive impact on alleviating the condition on a gradual basis. The role of nurses in treating anxiety is instrumental in achieving optimal patient health and wellbeing and in recognizing the importance of the condition in patient health. Nurses must utilize their vast skillset in order to recognize anxiety-related behaviors and work with patients by sharing knowledge that will impact their health in positive ways. Prior evidence regarding successful strategies and approaches to anxiety must be considered in order to effectively address patient care needs in a supportive and caring manner to improve patient outcomes.
The concept of patient-centered care (PCC) requires nurses to exercise proven techniques and strategies to alleviate anxiety in their patients so that treatment alternatives are effective (Kitson, Marshall, Bassett, & Zeitz, 2013). Therefore, the needs of each individual patient should be identified with the intent to address specific healthcare needs that require ongoing care and treatment (Kitson et.al, 2013). In this capacity, it is expected that nurses must work collaboratively to administer PCC as it relates to anxiety and related behaviors to have a positive impact on patients moving forward (Kitson et.al, 2013). Patients may experience anxiety for a variety of reasons; therefore, nurses must identify the nature of this behavior and determine if there are any underlying causes or other issues that are influencing the patient in negative ways (Kitson et.al, 2013).
Anxiety-related assessment tools and techniques must be available to nurses so that they are able to identify behavioral responses which impact patient health in different ways. The presentation of anxiety is critical in assessing a patient so that the level of severity of the anxiety may be identified, along with a determination of whether or not it is chronic in nature (DeJean, Giacomini, Vanstone, & Brundisini, 2013). For example, anxiety may be pathological in nature and may pose a risk to daily living that may have a significant impact on patient quality of life; therefore, nurses must assess each patient and determine the degree of anxiety which he or she is experiencing in order to effectively address and treat the condition (DeJean et.al, 2013). The primary objective of an assessment is to identify the nature of the anxiety state and to develop a treatment plan that will be conducive to improving the condition and in reversing the symptoms, many of which may be debilitating (DeJean et.al, 2013).
One of the important impacts of screening for anxiety is to provide support to patients with serious health conditions, such as cancer. Many of these patients experience differing degrees of anxiety which impact their wellbeing and which require the proper and timely diagnosis in order to determine risk factors and to treat the condition with the intent to alleviate symptoms (Meijer et.al, 2013). Establishing interventions that have been effective in treating patients with anxiety is a critical responsibility of nurses in treating this population, with a primary focus on interventions that will enhance their quality of life and minimize fear (Mejier et.al, 2013). There are a number of techniques that have been proven effective in managing the condition effectively, such as the use of music prior to surgery to alleviate anxiety-related behaviors (Lee, Chao, Yiin, Hsieh, Dai, & Chao, 2012). This intervention often leads to improved scores during assessment and a general state of calm prior to the surgical procedure (Lee et.al, 2012).
Another intervention to consider for some patients is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to treat anxiety disorders, but this requires an accurate diagnostic profile and a determination of whether or not the condition is pathological or psychological in nature (Tyrer et.al, 2014). Since symptoms may come and go, nurses must be able to determine if this intervention may be appropriate in addressing anxiety and if it will make a difference in their quality of life over the long term (Tyrer et.al, 2014). Nurses must establish effective communication with their patients and form relationships that will likely improve diagnostic acceptance and support of a treatment strategy as needed. It is important for nurses to be mindful of the risks that patients face with anxiety and if they are willing to accept the diagnosis and participate in a treatment plan. Nurses must be able to communicate in a manner that is not only supportive, but is also calming for patients who experience anxiety that is not only difficult to manage, but also disrupts health and wellbeing. Nurses must serve as a bridge between patients and the condition by offering potential solutions that will ultimately influence their quality of life and their ability to function in a normal capacity.
Anxiety is a debilitating condition which impacts patients in a variety of ways. Nurses who work with patients and suspect anxiety-related symptoms must be prepared to assess patients in order to provide them with effective treatment tools to manage these symptoms effectively. This is an important step for nurses in understanding how anxiety impacts each patient and how to best treat each case effectively, and this requires nurses to openly communicate with patients and observe any possible behaviors that are associated with the anxious state so that discussions regarding these symptoms may go forward to ensure that patients receive the care that they require.
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