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Learn the Value of Complex Care in Nursing With a BSN Degree

Complex care is a vital field within healthcare. It focuses on individuals with complex health and social needs, including those with chronic physical and behavioral health conditions. Complex care encompasses a wide range of healthcare services for individuals with multiple chronic conditions and complex health issues. The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) defines complex care as a growing field that aims to improve health and well-being for people with complex health and social needs.

According to the CHCS, “Complex care is a growing field that seeks to improve health and well-being for people with complex health and social needs. This includes individuals with multiple chronic physical and behavioral health conditions who often face many barriers such as homelessness and unstable housing, food insecurity, lack of transportation, as well as frail older adults and people with serious illness.”

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, like the University of South Carolina (USC) Aiken’s online Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN program, provides the necessary education and training to meet these complex care needs.

The Basics of Complex Care

Individuals with complex care needs might struggle with a combination of chronic illnesses, mental health conditions, social determinants of health (SDOH) and other factors that influence their care. Complex care involves not only medical treatment but also addressing social and environmental needs — providing support for transportation, housing, food insecurity and other barriers to health.

CHCS also stresses the importance of using congruent messaging when discussing complex care. When working with patients who need complex care, professionals must be aware of the importance of clear communication when relaying health information. In its guide, “Talking About Complex Care: A Guide for Clear and Effective Communications,” healthcare researchers state, “Using consistent messages and language will help fortify the field at large as well as expand and deepen commitment to the adoption of complex care programs and strategies.”

What Is Complex Care in Nursing?

In nursing, complex care refers to the specialized skills and approaches required to care for patients with intricate health needs. Nurses in this field must manage multiple chronic conditions, coordinate care among various providers and advocate for their patients’ overall well-being.

Complex care nurses often work with interdisciplinary teams to address all aspects of a patient’s health. This might include working with social workers, physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care. They are pivotal in coordinating and delivering care to individuals with complex health needs. Their duties include the following.

  • Assessment and diagnosis: Identifying the various health issues affecting a patient and determining the best course of treatment
  • Care coordination: Collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure a seamless patient care continuum
  • Patient advocacy: Ensuring patients receive the necessary resources and support to manage their health effectively
  • Education and counseling: Providing patients and their families information on managing chronic conditions and navigating the healthcare system
  • Cultural competence: Understanding the diverse backgrounds of patients and adapting care to meet their unique needs

The Role of a BSN Degree in Preparing for Complex Care

A BSN degree is crucial for nursing professionals who want to excel in complex care. Programs like the one offered at USC Aiken provide courses that focus on the specific skills required for complex care.

The Nursing Care of the Client with Complex Health Needs course, for example, prepares graduates to apply complex nursing skills. It covers topics such as critical thinking, clinical judgment and effective communication — which are essential for complex care nursing. Students meet BSN indirect and direct in-person clinical requirements throughout their degree.

Specifically, Wolters Kluwer outlines necessary competencies for nurses working in complex care:

  • Clinical judgment and critical thinking: Nurses must be able to assess complex cases and make informed decisions.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: Working with interdisciplinary teams ensures nurses provide comprehensive care.
  • Patient-centered care: Nurses must understand how to tailor care to meet each patient’s unique needs.
  • Technology and informatics: Utilizing technology to improve patient care and communication optimizes complex care outcomes.

Gain the Skills and Knowledge to Master Complex Care

BSN graduates are important to addressing the needs of individuals with complex health and social challenges, and they align with the goals of the complex care field. A BSN degree from USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program equips nursing professionals with the skills and knowledge to excel in this demanding area. By focusing on key competencies and providing specialized training, these programs prepare nurses to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those requiring complex care.

Learn more about USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.

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