What is Bedside Nursing?

| Last updated on November 20, 2023

The role of bedside nursing is becoming increasingly important as healthcare systems become more complex and patients require more specialized care. 

The importance of bedside nursing cannot be overstated. Bedside nurses directly contribute to better patient outcomes, improved patient satisfaction and increased healthcare efficiency. 

The trouble is, not all bedside nurses are equipped with the time and tools they require to provide high quality, compassionate care to patients. 

Nurses are often tasked with caring for multiple patients simultaneously, which can lead to burnout and compromised patient care. 

Nurses Role in Patient Care

In this article we explore how healthcare organizations can recognize the critical role bedside nurses play in patient care, and invest in the necessary time and technology resources to support the delivery of high quality care. 

Read this article to learn: 

What is bedside nursing? 

The CDC describes direct patient care as face-to-face contact between nurses and their patients for the purposes of assessing, diagnosing, or treating illnesses or injuries. 

Bedside nursing is direct patient care that goes a little further. 

Beyond basic clinical care, such as administering medications and monitoring vital signs, bedside nurses provide compassion – a therapeutic aspect to nursing that has benefits to patient outcomes.

Bedside nurses who provide a high level of compassion to their patients find:

  • Their patients heal faster
  • Healthcare team morale and job satisfaction are higher
  • Caregivers’ trust and satisfaction with the healthcare industry are increased

Bedside nurses are responsible for providing holistic care to patients, which includes physical, emotional and psychological support. They are often the first point of contact for patients and their families and they serve as patient advocates, ensuring patient voices are heard and patient rights are protected. 

The benefits of bedside nursing

While doctors play a critical role in forming diagnoses and developing treatment plans, nurses spend significant time helping patients heal and find comfort on a day-to-day and even hour-to-hour basis. 

It’s essential that healthcare organizations recognize the importance of bedside nursing, including the many benefits to both patient outcomes as well as the efficient and effective delivery of healthcare. 

Bedside nursing and patient pain management 

When it comes to pain management, bedside nurses are the first responders to patient needs. They assess pain levels, implement appropriate pain management strategies and advocate on behalf of their patients’ needs. 

Research suggests that patient pain can result in increased length of stay in hospital or healthcare settings. 

However, research also indicates that compassionate bedside nursing can decrease patient pain by providing patients’ with therapeutic relief that can help them to successfully manage pain. 

Decreased pain may help patients 

  • Heal faster and feel more confident about their health outcomes
  • Reduce the length of hospital stay and its associated costs
  • Increase trust in the healthcare industry

Through their expertise and compassionate care, bedside nurses help to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible during their hospital stay. 

Bedside nursing and reduced anxiety

In addition to helping patients manage ongoing pain, compassionate support from bedside nurses can also help patients feel less anxiety during medical intervention. 

Whether patients are nervous about a first time procedure, or they have anxiety about recurring treatment, bedside nurses use their communication skills to establish trust with patients and provide reassurance. 

Research indicates that compassion can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, and increase overall patient well-being. 

The positive effects of compassionate bedside nursing may include: 

  • Providing safer patient care
  • Increasing patient satisfaction with care
  • Improving patient self-confidence when coping with new or chronic illnesses 

Bedside nursing and infection prevention

Compassionate bedside nursing can also help to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAIs). 

A bedside nurse who frequently checks on patient wounds or IV connections, and regularly checks in with a patient’s pain level, is in the best possible position to catch signs of infection. 

Bedside nurses are also responsible for implementing and enforcing infection prevention control measures such as hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and isolation precautions to prevent the spread of infection. 

Additionally, nurses educate patients and their families about infection prevention and control measures to minimize the risk of acquiring or spreading infections. 

Infection prevention can lead to reduced costs, shorter hospital stays, increased efficiency and improved patient satisfaction. 

Advocating for bedside nursing: Importance of time and tools

Job satisfaction in nursing has deteriorated during the COVID-19 years, and burnout and turnover rates in the healthcare industry continue to be a major problem that can impact patient safety. 

Change begins with advocacy for improvements at the bedside - both for nurses and patients. 

Investing in compassion-led medical care:

  • Makes a clinician’s job easier
  • Increases clinician job satisfaction 
  • Can help to improve patient outcomes
  • Benefits the healthcare industry as a whole

Some research indicates that providing nurses with protected time to focus on bedside nursing with their patients will improve patient outcomes as well as nurse satisfaction. 

Nurses give a lot to their patients - sometimes at the risk of their own health - but when healthcare managers and corporate leaders are on board with providing the time and tools nurses need to do their jobs, the benefits increase for everyone. 

Compassionate technology for bedside nursing

The CDC says that the right thing to do should be the easy thing to do for healthcare teams.

The importance of compassionate technology and medical devices cannot be overstated when it comes to improving the job of bedside nurses. 

Technology and medical devices that are designed with compassion take into account the needs of both patients and nurses helping to:

  • Streamline workflows 
  • Reduce errors 
  • Improve patient outcomes 

Compassionate technology also includes features that enhance the patient experience, such as formulations that are gentle on skin. 

Causing a patient any pain is stressful for healthcare providers who are committed to providing patient-centered care.

Compassionate care should be the standard of care for all patients – and Covalon is a partner with bedside nurses in providing that care.

Get in touch with us today to request free samples for your team to try out. 


CDC: Direct patient care 

Nature Public Health Emergency Collection: The importance of compassion and respectful care for the health workforce

Journal of Oncology: Effect and Nursing Satisfaction of Bedside Nursing 

British Journal of Pain: ‘All these things don’t take the pain away but they do help you to accept it.’

Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences : The Importance and Extent of Providing Compassionate Nursing Care

Frontiers in Psychology: Cultivating compassion and reducing stress

CDC: Types of healthcare-associated infections

Journal for Nurses in Professional Development: Engaging Bedside Nurse in Research and Quality Improvement

British Journal of Nursing: Infection control and the bedside nurse

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