It is not easy for patients to step into hospitals and seek care. Disease and conditions take a toll on them, leaving a trail of emotions behind, including vulnerability and anxiety. This makes it harder for them to trust their medical caregivers too. However, as a nurse, you’re a mediator in such situations and must ensure a patient gets looked after.
As a nurse, you’ll be responsible for being with the patient from the moment they enter the hospital to when they leave. So unless you’re on cordial terms, it can be hard to achieve wellness. So you need to work on your skills to build a bond with your patient. Here’s how you do this:
1. Go with the intention to heal
When you enter an examination room, the only thought that should be in your mind is you want to help the patient get better. This prevents you from allowing your mind to sway in unnecessary directions and focus on a unilateral goal. So when you start the consultation session, you’re able to deduce what the patient needs. Treating a patient is a multifaceted process. While there is medical intervention required, alternative wellness methods are also important.
So when a patient is discussing their health, you may want to look into holistic care in nursing to provide them with the relief they seek without the need for chemicals. Techniques like yoga, acupuncture, and therapy can also act as an outlet to let go of the pain. By providing a patient a method outside of traditional medicines, you show your care and attentiveness to their well-being. This helps you plant the seeds of your professional relationship with mutual respect.
2. Introduce yourself and learn about them
When you walk in on a patient, the first thing you should do is introduce yourself. Patients need some familiarity before they entrust you with their life. So if you enter and choose not to say anything about who you are, there can be no trust. If you’re checking up on a non-emergency patient, you have time to make small talk. This can include the weather, discussing the patient calmly and friendly, and if you’re working with kids, make jokes and make the child feel comfortable before you start.
When you’ve established this environment of friendliness, you’re helping the patient ease into the situation and not stay on their guard. This makes treatment more accessible. When talking to a patient, you should also learn about them. You can converse about where the patient is from, their hobbies, and what they like doing in their free time. You may even talk about their culture if they’re comfortable with it. Once you start getting treated with kindness and respect, you should know that you did an excellent job helping your patient adjust. You get bonus points if you speak the patient’s native language and carry on an entire conversation in that language alone.
3. Be empathetic
Watching their health crumble around them is not easy for any patient. They can get anxious, choose to use you as a scapegoat, or be worried about the outcome. This can make a patient fumble and even mess up simple instructions. Instead of getting mad at prolonging your work, be patient with them. You can pause your routine checkup, help the patient breathe, and calm their racing mind before continuing. This way, you’re not treating your patient like another chart you need to fill out. But instead, you see them for the human they are. Even if you have no religious beliefs, let them know if a patient wants to hold your hand to pray. This is not a personal dig at your moral standing but a way to comfort yourself during uncertain times.
Examples of empathy are all around you. These include clapping for a patient when they beat cancer and filling rubber gloves with water so isolating covid-19+ can use the gloves as a source of comfort and eradicate the feeling of loneliness. Doctors can also hug a fatally sick patient and try to ease the adjustment of transitioning into their new health. So never hold back in trying to show your patients how much you care.
4. Keep patients updated
Patients don’t like being kept in the dark about their health. No matter how considerate you think you’re being, it can cause them to become skeptical of you. As a medical expert, it’s your responsibility to ensure you honestly inform patients about where their health stands. This means having a difficult conversation with them if their health is terrible. You can soften the blow by choosing the right words and allowing the patient space to understand their prognosis.
Keeping patients updated goes beyond ensuring they know about their health. It would help if you offered them advice on how they can look after themselves and take medicines on time. You may even guide your patients to educational resources they can use to build their knowledge about their condition. It’s also essential that while you’re updating your clients, you’re also keeping your composure. Your words and body language can be a source of strength for them. If you feel the patient does not understand the gravity of their situation, converse with them.
Being a nurse is all about establishing meaningful connections with your patients. When you check upon them, you must work on having a bond. Trust is the foundation on which any hospital stands. Earn it if you wish to make a difference in a patient’s life. But before you can do that, you have to establish some steps that can bring you close to your patient. Always meet with them, hoping that you will help them get better, give yourself the space to know your patient, and let them know you. It’s not wise to keep your patient in the dark and don’t hold back on letting them know about their well-being. This makes recovery possible. You should extend your empathy and kindness to your patient since they can use your gentle words to feel better. As long as you follow these measures through, you’ll have a connection with your patient.