Family nurse practitioners perform essential duties in the healthcare system. Due to the dynamic nature of healthcare and lesser availability of primary care physicians, the relevance of family nurse practitioners cannot be disregarded. The nurse practitioners attend to both acute and chronic illnesses, performing diagnostic tests, conducting physical examinations, and, most importantly, carrying out therapeutic medical and nursing procedures to manage a given disease. Additionally, family nurse practitioners help patients to understand diseases through health education. Moreover, they involve patients in the care of illnesses. One such disease is diabetes mellitus. This condition is a chronic disease that causes various complications, which need the attention of the family nurse practitioners. Significantly, the nurse practitioner sets specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) goals to manage the disease efficiently. In this regard, this paper examines five SMART personal nursing objectives that a nurse practitioner can employ in the management of a diabetic foot.
The first objective is to assess the foot of the patient for protective sensation in 20 minutes using 10 g of monofilament. This goal is applicable because diabetes causes peripheral neuropathy which is responsible for much morbidity and mortality (Baraz, Zarea, Shahbazian, & Latifi, 2014). Significantly, the goal is specific on neuropathy, should be measured every six months, and it is achievable due to the simplicity of the procedure. The family nurse practitioner will work within the specified time to check for any abnormalities with the aim of initiating therapeutic interventions.
The second goal is to examine the affected limb for vascular supply in 10 minutes. Blood supply is essential because it provides oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues for proper functioning. In diabetes mellitus, the involvement of blood vessels leads to atherosclerosis, which eventually causes ischemia (Rodrigues & Mitta, 2011). Ischemia later makes the foot gangrenous. Therefore, it is essential to assess blood supply to prevent complications.
Thirdly, the nurse practitioner has to assess the affected limb for odor, exudates, and pain for 10 minutes. A foot that has begun to become infected will start to produce a foul smell (Rodrigues & Mitta, 2011, p. 137). This assessment is focusing on the smell and will be done in a specified period of 10 minutes. It does not involve much, and the patient is expected to comply. If the nurse practitioner notices any foul smell, antibiotic therapy needs to be initiated.
The fourth objective is to assess the foot for structural deformities, ill-fitting footwear and carry out toenail debridement for 30 minutes. When the foot is exposed to the peripheral vascular disease, damage to peripheral nerves, deformities, and ulceration is inevitable (Singh, Pai, & Yuhhui, 2013). Consequently, the patient will have difficulties in putting on shoes, and ulcers will be visible. Therefore, it is critical that the family nurse practitioner assesses this risk and intervenes where possible.
Finally, the family nurse practitioner needs to compile the assessment data and develop a health education plan for 20 minutes. Some patients have insufficient knowledge regarding diseases affecting them. Therefore, this objective, which is a 20 minutes task on teaching about diabetic foot care, will be critical in managing the patient.
A diabetic foot requires proper management to prevent infections. Family nurse practitioners have a crucial role to play in the management of this condition. For instance, they can develop nursing goals that are patient-centered and be committed to achieving them. The objectives need to be precise, measurable, and attainable by both the patient and the nurse. Moreover, the goals must be practical and able to be executed in a given period. Through implementation and proper evaluation of the objectives, nurse practitioners can assess the progress of their care and determine if the plan of care needs to be changed. Considerably, nursing objectives in the management of diseases are essential.
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