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What Are Nursing Interventions? A Guide With Examples

Nurse Mike (Mike Linares)
By SimpleNursing | Published February 21st, 2022
Published February 21st, 2022
A young female Asian nurse reassures a black senior woman in a hospital bed what are nursing interventions

If you’re struggling to wrap your head around the term “nursing interventions,” don’t worry — you’re not alone. “Intervention” might sound like a big complicated word, but it just describes what nurses do daily to care for their patients.

Nursing interventions are an important part of every nursing care plan. From checking vital signs to administering medication, registered nurses (RNs) are expected to perform many different types of interventions when caring for a patient.

What are nursing interventions?

Nursing interventions are simply any action a nurse performs to help patients reach expected outcomes. Providing physical treatments, emotional support, and patient education are all examples of nursing interventions. Nurses typically perform these actions as part of a nursing care plan to monitor and improve their patient’s comfort and health.

What is a nursing care plan?

Nurses develop and follow a nursing care plan as part of the nursing process. Creating and implementing the plan and updating a patient’s record ensures continuity of care for the patient.

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), a nursing care plan consists of five essential steps:

  1. Patient assessment: Nurses assess a patient’s physical and emotional state and include any data about the patient that the medical team needs to know.
  2. Nursing diagnosis: Nurses judge a patient’s health condition and make a nursing diagnosis as defined by NANDA International.
  3. Patient outcomes: Nurses plan health goals for patients and detail which interventions are needed to help a patient achieve the desired outcome.
  4. Implementation: Nurses put their care plan into action by completing all necessary interventions.
  5. Evaluation: Nurses continually monitor a patient’s status and the effectiveness of their nursing care.

A nursing care plan is a guide nurses follow to understand the patient’s condition and how best to care for them. It ensures consistent patient care and clear communication between all medical professionals involved. As a result, nursing interventions are performed during the fourth stage (implementation) of a patient’s care plan.

Types of Nursing Interventions

Nurses perform interventions in a variety of ways for the well-being of their patients. Some treatments might be undertaken alone, while other activities require a doctor’s instruction. A single nurse may work with a patient from beginning to end, or patient care might be a team effort.

You might be expected to perform These three types of nursing interventions as a registered nurse.

Independent Nursing Interventions

Nurses are health care professionals who can act independently when it’s allowed. So, an independent nursing intervention is an action a nurse can perform by themselves, without any management from a doctor or another discipline.

Basic comfort care or taking a patient’s temperature are examples of independent nursing tasks.

Dependent Nursing Interventions

Some interventions require a doctor’s order or directions from other health care professionals before a nurse can perform them. These nursing actions are known as dependent or physician-initiated nursing interventions.

For example, a nurse can’t administer medication or perform a vaccination without the direction of a doctor.

Interdependent Nursing Interventions

Interdependent nursing interventions are also called collaborative interventions. These activities require a team of medical professionals to work together for a patient’s care and full recovery.

When a collaborative intervention is needed, nurses perform tasks under the guidance of different disciplines and ensure communication of patient care between all parties.

nurse caring for elderly patient

Nursing Intervention Examples

Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) is a comprehensive and researched-based publication that details more than 500 interventions across all medical care settings and specialties. NIC provides a standardized classification system for nursing interventions and has been adopted by many medical organizations worldwide.

All nursing interventions defined by NIC are divided into seven specific categories known as domains.

Basic Physiological Nursing Interventions

When a nurse cares for a patient’s physical needs, they perform basic physiological interventions. 

These are hands-on care actions like feeding, bathing, and bedside assistance. Basic physiological interventions ensure a patient is clean and comfortable. This method of care is how nurses ensure patients’ regular physical needs are being met.

Complex Physiological Nursing Interventions

Complicated patient needs require more advanced nursing care. These types of treatments are called complex physiological nursing interventions. 

Administering fluids or medication through an IV is an example of a complex physical health intervention.

Behavioral Nursing Interventions

Behavioral nursing interventions deal with a patient’s unhealthy behaviors or habits. 

Nurses might introduce physical and emotional coping methods to help patients change their behavior. Helping a patient to cope with an addiction is an example of behavioral nursing interventions.

Family Nursing Interventions

Some nursing care duties expand beyond the patient to include family members. This type of care is known as family nursing intervention. 

Helping a mother care for her newborn in the hospital is a great example of a family intervention. Teaching and assisting new mothers helps both the primary patient and her family.

nurse intervention

Safety Nursing Interventions

Patient safety is a top priority for registered nurses, no matter how long the patient is under their direct care. 

Safety nursing interventions include everything from fall prevention to teaching family members how to help patients safely recover at home.

Community Nursing Interventions

A community nursing intervention involves more than just patients and their families: It also reaches out to the local population. It’s an initiative usually made by a medical organization to encourage better public health and wellness in the community.

Nurses may help educate or care for the community during these interventions. For example, they could administer vaccines during a free flu shot clinic to help combat illness in the community.

Health System Nursing Interventions

When a nurse is part of an interdependent health care team, they often provide health system nursing interventions. This nursing practice ensures the medical facility is safe and clean for patients. For example, following health system protocols for cleanliness is a nursing intervention that helps prevent infections.

We Make Nursing Intervention Studies Easy

From monitoring a patient’s blood pressure to providing acute care post-surgery, there are hundreds of nursing interventions to learn about as part of your nursing education. 

If you’re preparing to get into nursing school and need help studying for your exams, you can trust SimpleNursing to teach you the fundamentals of nursing and more in an easy-to-learn way.

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Nurse Mike (Mike Linares)
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