After forming a picture of a patient's total needs, priorities need to be set to see which patient needs or issues need attention first. Priority setting is ordering patient problems using perceptions of urgency and importance to form an order of nursing actions.
As a new nurse, I need to learn to view a patient’s whole picture, rather than just focusing on one problem at a time. Using the assessment process, patient’s help me define their needs, initiate interventions, and put a plan of care into effect. It is essential for me to stay organized and know my patients’ priorities. Using my patients’ priorities will help me organize the order for delivering care.
Low priority—Real or possible problems that are not directly related to a patient's illness or disease. These problems are often linked to developmental needs or long-term health care needs.
High priority—An immediate threat to a patient's survival or safety such as an airway, breathing or circulation issue.
I can classify patient problems using three priority levels.
Intermediate priority— Nonemergency, nonlife-threatening real or possible needs that a patient and family members are experiencing.