What is a Nurse’s Role in Curative, Preventive, Rehabilitative, and Palliative Care?

In today’s healthcare field, nurses are the largest group of medical providers. They are essential in all areas of healthcare. They are on the front lines of clinical care and work with patients of all ages in various medical settings from hospitals to personal homes. Those looking into the nursing field may inquire about a nurse’s role in curative, preventive, rehabilitative, and palliative care.

Curative Care

Curative care involves treatment intended to alleviate the symptoms or cure a current medical condition. It strives to reduce pain, improve function, and help improve the quality of life for patients. Examples of treatment options include medications, casts and splints for broken bones, dialysis for kidney conditions, and chemotherapy for cancer. Nurses provide and coordinate curative care for patients in various environments. They set up plans for the care of patients, carry out medical treatments, observe patients, and discuss conditions with doctors and other medical staff. They also assist with diagnostic testing and evaluating results. Nurses perform an important role in instructing patients and families on how to manage their medical condition and explain home care and follow up treatments.

Preventive Care

Preventive care focuses on preventing disease and illness and promoting overall general health and well being. Nurses work to prevent risk factors for disease through patient education. They provide instruction on healthy diets, immunizations, and exercise. They also discuss the dangers of risky behavior, such as tobacco and drug use. Nurses in preventive care identify risk factors and strive to detect disease in the early stages to prevent the spread or worsening of symptoms. In preventive care, nurses work with other medical professionals to provide preventive care to help maintain the good health and quality of life for all individuals.

Rehabilitative Care

In rehabilitative care, nurses assist patients with temporary and long-term disabilities or chronic illnesses. They assist in adapting to their conditions, meeting their highest potential, and living more independent lives. They commonly use holistic approaches to medical treatment to meet all needs of patients. They work with patients and family members to establish a treatment plan and establish short and long-term goals. They also prepare patients and caregivers for changes that occur in rehabilitative treatment. Many rehabilitative nurses join the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses to access continuing education options and various other resources.

Palliative Care

Palliative care involves the care for patients who are at the end of life due to an incurable medical condition. In this field, nurses work with other physicians and other medical professionals to diagnose, treat, and provide care for individuals with terminal medical issues. They help patients and family deal with the condition by providing information, support, and access to counseling services. Palliative care nurses try to help patients receive the best possible medical treatment to alleviate their symptoms and pain to rest comfortably. They regularly meet with the family members and friends of patients to help provide coping strategies with the situation and discuss additional options for end-of-life care.

Nurses are in high demand in each of these four fields, as a diversity of patients need effective medical care. Getting a nursing degree and entering one of these nursing specialties can be both rewarding and lucrative.