I’m Here:Compassionate Communication in Patient Care,” written by Marcus Engle, is a highly recommended read for anyone in the health care field. I, like many of you, am a nursing student. Eager to get through school, and counting down the months until I earn my “RN” license, and enter the working field of nursing.
Last semester, an instructor and peer highly recommended to read this book, which documents the story from a patient’s point of view while receiving medical care after a tragic motor vehicle accident. As I packed for my vacation during winter break, I went ahead and signed onto my Kindle App on my iPad, and proceeded in purchasing the book. I told myself, read this before my 4th semester in nursing school starts in mid January. Once I started it only took me two days during my vacation to read it. Very please and grateful for the knowledge this book reinforced.
Only, a few chapters in, I was blown away on the impact it is making in my young (oh, very young) nursing life. That’s when I stopped, and decided to take notes while reading the book, and highlight any takeaways, and learning opportunities to share with you all. So, lets start a series of learning opportunities that I am sure will help you.
– Introduce yourself, let your profession be know, but most importantly make your patient feel safe by immediately building rapport.
This entire book helps the nurse to be mindful, so my very first important tip is, introduce yourself, explain your position and what you are doing. Most importantly make your patient feel safe now that you are providing care. I am guilty of walking in taking vitals and forgetting to introduce myself. I just assumed that the patient remembers me. The patient is visited by many health care professionals, so it is important that you introduce yourself every time you visit with the patient.
So, remember, that some of these patients have never been to a hospital. Others, arrived at the hospital unconscious. Those that arrived alert may or may not be disoriented, but what remains constant among all of these “patients,” the hospital is a place where many fear, and emotions and anxiety runs high. This is not their comfortable environment.
There is so much that happens from the time the patient is injured to the time that they arrive at the hospital bay. All of the noises, people, and commotion can be very ( I mean VERY) scary and cause high levels of anxiety. Clearly introduce yourself, make physical contact, explain who you are, and immediately build the rapport to establish patient and nurse relationship. Make your patient feel safe that they are in your hands.
My last clinical rotation, allowed me to experience this first hand. I went into the patient’s room with my nurse, and prepared to insert a foley catheter. As the nurse prepared her sterile field, I stood by the patient, grabbed his hand, and explained the procedure. During the procedure, I helped the patient to relax, and fully comprehend what is going on. The more the patient knew the better he cooperated.
At that point, I realized the support us nurses provide, can really make a difference in the care that the patient receives, as well as how the patient recovers. What some may think is a simple, unnecessary gesture, it could be exactly what the patient needs.
We, nurses, are the patients advocate. Many patient’s will be under our care, and it is our job to make them feel safe, and secure about the care that they are receiving. Do your best, to never forget that the hospital is a scary world for many, and being there for your patient to help ease their anxiety can be the start of a great patient and nurse relationship, as well as a better recovery for your patient.