How Do Nursing Interventions Influence Patient Outcomes?

nurse interacting with a patient as part of an intervention
Written by
Jenna Elizabeth
Reviewed by
Miranda Kay, RN
February 19, 2024

Table of Contents

One of the fundamental steps of the nursing process, in which nurses can take action to improve their patient's health and well-being and aid in their recovery, is the creation and implementation of nursing interventions. 

Nursing interventions any actions taken by a nurse to treat and improve a patient's health. When successful, nursing interventions should provide short-term and long-term benefits for a patient's recovery.

There are many nursing terms used in the medical field today. However, if you are a nurse, becoming familiar with "nursing interventions" and learning how to execute them effectively can help you perform your job better. 

Below, we will break down some examples of nursing interventions and how they can help promote positive patient outcomes.

What Are Nursing Interventions?

Nursing interventions are actions or measures nurses take to promote, maintain, or restore the health and well-being of patients. These interventions are one component of a nursing care plan (NCP). 

An NCP is a document that details a patient's needs and how you will treat them and lists reasonable goals to track their progress. A nursing care plan also defines what actions a nurse will need to take to provide appropriate interventions. 

Generally, a nursing care plan will include five main components: 

  1. Assessment: A nurse will gather relevant information about the patient's health status, including physical, psychological, social, and environmental factors. An assessment is a physical examination that includes checking vital signs, medical history, current medications, allergies, and a patient's subjective complaints. The assessment also includes the nurse’s subjective and objective data. Depending on the situation and setting, the nurse may need to perform a complete head-to-toe assessment.
  2. Diagnosis: Based on assessment data, a nurse will identify actual or potential health problems that the patient is experiencing. From here, a nursing diagnosis can be made. Nursing diagnoses differ from medical diagnoses and focus on the patient's response or sudden changes in their health condition. A nursing diagnosis also involves the creation of a care plan (NCP). On the other hand, a medical diagnosis focuses only on identifying a disease and illness and less on the care behind the diagnosis.
  3. Planning or Goals & Outcomes: After a patient assessment has been performed and a diagnosis has been made, a nurse can establish quantifiable, realistic short- and long-term goals. A short-term goal could be a change in behavior and an improvement in symptoms that a patient achieves within a few hours of treatment. Meanwhile, a long-term goal is an improvement or change that happens months or years after a patient has started treatment. 
  4. Implementation of Nursing Interventions: Nursing interventions are any techniques and strategies nurses use to help their patients heal. Nursing interventions should provide results that are both short-term and long-term and have positive outcomes and impacts on a patient's health.
  5. Evaluation: The evaluation component of this nursing process entails assessing the patient's response to nursing interventions and determining whether the desired outcomes were met. This way, an evaluation will involve a nurse comparing the patient's response to the expected outcomes. Sometimes, evaluation means making necessary changes to optimize the nursing care plan to serve a patient better. 

A simplified five-column nursing care plan may look like the following: 

Patient: John Doe

Nursing Care Plan by: Nancy Nurse

Assessment Diagnosis Outcomes Interventions Evaluation
Severe abdominal pain
Foul smelling stools
Frequent flatulence
Passing of watery stools seven times over a 12-hour period
Diarrhea related to the consumption of suspected contaminated foods After 12 hours of nursing care, the patient will be able to resume normal bowel movements and functioning Evaluate food history of allergies and intolerances
Weigh patient daily and document results
Observe the frequency,
amount, consistency, and timing of stools
After 12 hours of nursing care the patient was able to resume partially normal bowel movements and functioning
This was deduced by a reduction in stool frequency and watery consistency

As noted in the table above, nursing interventions are part of a more complex nursing process that can assist nurses in assessing patients for signs of pain, discomfort, or distress. From there, nurses can take appropriate action and implement nursing interventions to alleviate these symptoms. Essentially, nursing interventions play a crucial role in managing, monitoring, and promoting comfort for a patient. 

What Are Nursing Interventions According to NANDA? 

(NANDA-I), previously known as the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, it is an organization that develops standardized nursing diagnoses and is considered an "international language" for nurses worldwide. 

NANDA-I uses evidence-based terminology to enhance a clinical nurse’s practice and ensure that nurses have a common language to effectively communicate what their patients need. Nursing interventions of NANDA-I can also help nurses assess the patient, plan, and provide appropriate interventions.

What is The Clinical Care Classification (CCC) System?

In addition, The Clinical Care Classification (CCC) System is a reliable source for nursing terminology that makes electronic nursing plans of care documentation easier. The CCC comprises 804 nursing interventions corresponding to 201 core nursing interventions (77 major categories and 124 subcategories). 

These interventions are grouped into four action-type qualifiers: 

  • Monitor & Assess
  • Perform & Care 
  • Teach & Instruct 
  • Manage & Refer 

Like the NANDA-I, CCC encompasses standardized nursing diagnoses and interventions to help patients. However, NANDA-I focuses on nursing diagnoses that can be applied to acute nursing care settings, whereas the CCC focuses on nursing diagnoses relevant to home health care.

What Are the Nursing Interventions Classifications?

According to a definition by the Iowa College of Nursing:

"The Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) is a comprehensive, research-based, standardized classification of interventions that nurses perform." 

"NIC" refers to the standard language or nursing terminology used for physician and nurse-initiated nursing treatments. It can refer to both direct and indirect care and the interventions that nurses perform on behalf of patients. Nursing interventions can be independent, collaborative, or dependent. Consequently, the three primary categories of nursing interventions are as follows:

Independent Nursing Interventions
Collaborative Nursing Interventions

Dependent Nursing Interventions
Nursing actions that nurses can initiate without a physician's order.

Examples of independent nursing interventions may include:
Monitoring vital signs
Repositioning for comfort
Providing oral care
Assisting with activities of daily living
Nursing actions that require collaboration with other healthcare professionals such as physicians, physical therapists, and social workers.
Examples of collaborative nursing interventions may include:
Multidisciplinary team meetings
Referrals to other healthcare providers
Consults with respiratory therapists
Nurse educates patient and family on heart disease or other medical conditions
Nursing actions that require a physician's order or supervision and often require specific training or expertise.

Examples of dependent nursing interventions may include:
Administering intravenous medications
Inserting urinary catheters
Performing invasive procedures
Administering medications

NIC can be used in many medical settings, but the most common are acute care, intensive care units, and ambulatory care settings. NIC can also be used by hospice, home care, and non-physician providers to treat their patients. 

The importance of nursing interventions is for nurses to understand when to implement them based on the patient's condition and the healthcare provider's orders. When used effectively, nursing interventions can help lead to positive patient outcomes.

Common Examples of Nursing Interventions

Examples of nursing interventions range from administering medications and providing wound care to more complex interventions, such as those that control broken bones like tractions. Other examples of nursing interventions may include:

  • Educating patients and their families on health-related topics such as adverse effects, treatment plans, and desired outcomes.
  • Facilitating physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises.
  • Offering emotional support and counseling related to the care patients receive. 

The following illustrates some nursing interventions that could be tailored to a particular diagnosis:

Interventions Interventions may include
Nursing interventions for pneumonia Interventions may include obtaining blood work, hydrating the patient, administering antibiotics, and managing pain and cough
Nursing interventions for COPD Interventions may include monitoring shortness of breath, concentrating on oxygen therapy, such as short-acting bronchodilators, fluid management, and respiratory control
Nursing interventions for hypertension Interventions may include regular blood pressure checks, administration of antihypertensive drugs, and nursing education about adopting a healthier lifestyle
Nursing interventions for acute pain Interventions include lessening physical suffering, pain, or distress
Nursing interventions for sepsis Interventions may include promptly administering antibiotics, implementing measures to reduce the risk of infection, ensuring appropriate oxygenation and respiratory support, and encouraging pulmonary hygiene
Nursing interventions for stroke Interventions may include transport, documentation, surveillance, neurologic assessments, and vital sign monitoring
Nursing interventions for anxiety Interventions may include reducing anxiety, encouraging self-care, and enhancing coping mechanisms
Nursing interventions for congestive heart failure (CHF) Interventions may include assessing respiratory functioning, monitoring blood pressure and pulse, monitoring for swelling and edema, applying 02 (oxygen) as needed
Nursing interventions for heart failure Same as nursing interventions for congestive heart failure
Nursing interventions for constipation Interventions include controlling or restoring the functioning of the bowel

These examples are just a snapshot of many nursing interventions that fall under common NCP plans to promote well-being and improve the care patients receive. As a result, nursing interventions can dramatically optimize a patient's health outcomes and enhance their overall quality of life.

Will I Have to Write an NCP as a Nurse? 

In most cases—yes—if you are a registered nurse (RN). Additionally, many other nursing professionals are responsible for contributing to a nursing care plan (NCP).

Fortunately, advances in technology and digital tools in healthcare have aided in the development of computerized NCPs, which may make creating nursing plans more efficient. However, because not all medical settings have implemented this technology, nurses should be familiar with traditional nursing care plans. 

Importance of Nursing Interventions and Patient Care

Nursing interventions are necessary because they help ensure patients receive the best care. Studies continue to show the vital role that nursing interventions play in raising the standard of healthcare overall and improving patient safety and outcomes. 

Resilience and the capacity to function under pressure are essential traits for nurses to possess since they must react quickly to changes in patient conditions. Thus, nursing interventions require careful preparation and a day-in, day-out, dedicated effort by nurses to implement them correctly. 

Are you a nurse new to nursing care plans (NCPs)? Our ultimate guide to NCPs will help you get familiar with nursing care templates and feel more confident on the job.


Blog published on:
February 19, 2024

Meet Jenna, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who writes about healthcare news and updates, empathy and compassion for nurses, how to show staff appreciation and increase retention, and guides that help nurses navigate career pathways.

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