When you are starting out as a new nurse, you want your patients to have a good impression of you and the care you provide to them. Because let’s face it, as a new nurse your confidence in your nursing abilities is minimal at first until you gain experience. However, you don’t want your patient to see this.
I remember being a new nurse and I was scared to death to be on my own, but when that time came, I knew I had to appear confident, professional, and experienced with my patients.
From the first time you enter a patient’s room, they are observing you and forming an impression of what type of nurse you are and if you are someone they can trust in providing quality care to them. This not only applies to the patient, but their family members as well. Family members tend to be more critical of a nurse and this influences how a patient will perceive their nurse. So, establishing a good rapport in the beginning is essential in having a great day, and ensuring you and your patient have open lines of communication.
In this article, I am going to give you some tips on how to establish a good rapport with your patient. Many of these tips on based on my own experience, and I’m sure many of you can add to this list because it is really a never ending list.
In addition, to this article I have made a video discussing this new nursing tip and you can watch it below:
Tips on How to Establish Rapport with a Patient
- Knock….it’s the little things that matter! Okay, this may be a no-brainer, but sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to do this. Knocking before entering into a patient’s room is vitally important. As nurses, we have to remember that our patient’s home is their hospital room, and we have to show respect to them by always knocking before we enter. This just shows the patient I respect your personal privacy, and want to let you know that I am entering into your “home” and I was wondering if it was okay if I come in and provide care to you.
- Keep them covered! When performing procedures or walking a patient down the hall, make an effort to cover them up and tell them that you are doing so. For instance, foley insertion is a very embarrassing procedure for a patient who is conscious, so try to make an effort to preserve modesty as much as possible. Another example is replacing EKG stickers on a patient (especially women). When doing this, try to keep the breast covered and if friends or family members are present in the room, have them step out while you change them. I have seen nurses do this right in front of the family and the non-verbal cues from the patient and people present conveyed “awkwardness”. Your patient will definitely respect you more if you respect their modesty.
- Keep the conversation on them! When talking with your patients or their family members avoid talking about yourself. Let them talk and listen attentively. Many times patients and family members are lonely or scared and would like to talk to someone…not be talked at.
- Ask if they need anything! Make an effort every time you enter their room that you ask them if you can get them anything, even if you just went into their room to take their vitals or check a blood glucose. This will hopefully cut down on their call light usage too.
- Allow for do not disturb time! Patients do not get rest in hospitals. We are constantly entering their room to check their vitals, collect blood, give medications etc., and realistically someone is probably going in their room every hour. So, if your patient is exhausted allow them to have 2-3 hours where no one bothers them. Generally, a good time for this during the day is 2-4pm because most medication passes are over, doctors have rounded, and lunches have already been served. Of course, only agree to this if the patient is not critically ill.
- Acknowledge family members! As I already pointed out, family members are going to be more critical of you as a nurse and if a family member doesn’t like you chances are the patient won’t either. If your patient has a family member at the bedside, acknowledge them by introducing yourself and asking them their name. This will go a long way and hopefully establish a good rapport with them.
If you have any new nurse tips that you would like to add, please comment below. I would love to hear them!