Every registered nurse will spend a considerable amount of time caring directly for their patients. This is true regardless of their field of focus or their career path. For this reason, nurses must learn to provide excellent medical services and a solid rapport with patients. A patient who is at ease with their nursing staff will have a more positive and comfortable experience while they are at a hospital or outpatient facility. Warm and friendly interactions also make it easier for healthcare professionals to serve them.
Whether you are new to wearing a stethoscope or you are looking for fresh tips to make a positive and lasting impact at work, the following tips will help you create a supportive and helpful environment for those who need it. When you become an inspirational influence on the patients you meet, you will make their experience a little bit easier, all while becoming a better nurse.
Take Time to Introduce Yourself
Before you ever complete a procedure or make an assessment, make an excellent first impression on your patients. Start by sitting down with them to introduce yourself. Tell them your name and why you are qualified to care for them. Remind them you are committed to helping them with their needs. Make good eye contact, speak slowly and clearly and always keep your mood upbeat.
After you introduce yourself, ask your patient if there is anything they need from you at the moment. Show them that you are open to listening to their concerns, which will also encourage them to let you know if they notice any updates in their health. This simple task takes only a few minutes, yet it creates an immediate environment of trust, open communication and friendliness.
Have Fun with Your Uniform
It can be challenging to reduce stress and manage emotions when recovering from an illness or an injury. Patients who spend time in the hospital may experience a range of feelings, including anxiety and depression. While you may not be able to take your patient’s worry or frustration away, you can add a little sunshine to their day by making your scrubs a little more interesting or exciting. Some of the best ways to choose cute or conversation-starting scrubs are to pick out a few bright colors, look for vibrant prints or shop for tops and jackets featuring popular characters.
You can also try accessorizing your hospital’s scrubs or doctor’s office uniforms with adorable, printed jackets or scrub caps. An excellent way to start a fun nursing wardrobe is to shop for scrubs on sale. By searching for affordable and fun scrub tops and sets, you can experiment with different looks and build a unique rapport with all of your patients. Lanyards, badge holders and pins featuring animals, glitter or flowers are sure to make for a great chat.
Share the Little Details
Many patients are new to the care they are receiving or the health challenges they are facing. Give them as much information as possible about their condition and the assessments you are making. If you speak to them in plain language, you can make them feel a lot more at ease. Ask them if they have any questions about their treatment. Validate their concerns by getting answers for things you do not know about. Consider reaching out to another healthcare provider on their team to get them more clarification.
It is also helpful to share small, simple details about your life or your experience. If they are concerned about spending time away from their family, consider sharing with them about your partner or how many children you have. Should they be worried about work or activities outside of the hospital, reassure them that you are there to help them get back to full health as soon as possible. Refer them to services within the hospital or connect them with a facility social worker should they need extra assistance. Find common ground in favorite foods, sports teams or the same hometown. To patients, nurses are often superheroes, but it helps to remind them that their care providers also have loved ones, responsibilities and personal interests.
Care for Their Comfort
A patient’s health and safety are of utmost importance. When someone is stable or recovering, you may be able to spend some time thinking about their comfort in addition to their condition. If permitted within your facility, offer to turn on the television, change the channel or get them a new beverage or snack.
Ask if they would like another blanket, need any help making a phone call or need assistance grabbing anything from their belongings. In some cases, patients are too shy to ask for help with personal items, or they are unsure their nurses will assist with these subjects. A little extra attention can be a big relief for someone who is having trouble speaking or requires some support with communicating needs.
Be an Ally for Your Patients
While you provide expert care to your patients, you can also make them smile. It does not matter whether your patient is with you for a couple of days or a few weeks because what is most important is to be consistent with your attention and support. Some nurses like to take notes about their patients and what they need on a daily basis, while others choose to create a template “rapport sheet” that reminds them to sit down and listen, ask about comfort and complete follow-up tasks after speaking with a patient. Find what works for you and stick with it. What is important is that you care about how your patients feel and interact with you while they are in their outpatient facility or hospital.