Online RN to MSN
Clinical Systems Leadership

5 Ways to Improve Nurse-Patient Relationships

There are a few ways nurses are always looking to improve, such as their education – often by way of a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Perhaps the aspect most likely to benefit from consistent enhancement is the level of care clinicians provide their patients.

Some extra face-to-face interaction can make patients feel more comfortable.

The relationships health-care providers have with people are crucial to their success in the field. Here are five ways nurses can improve their interactions with their patients:

1. Practice reflective listening

Anxiety is common when people are nervous about particular health conditions or even on a regular, planned visit to a clinic or hospital. Sometimes, these patients just want nurses to hear all of their comments and concerns with no objections. Health-care providers should practice reflective listening by allowing people to speak without interruptions. Instead of looking through a chart during this time or tuning out a highly emotional patient, actively accepting these worries will relieve patient stress. Reflective listening can also be used between nurses and physicians to better improve their relationships. Repeating what they’ve heard will not only assist health-care providers in offering better care, but will demonstrate the value of a person’s insight.

2. Utilize humor

Some patients may be dealing with diagnoses that are quite challenging, while others may partake in visits of much less serious nature. In either case, adding a little quirk to the conversation can go a long way in improving morale, building resilience and reducing both stress and anxiety in patients. This practice can improve patient interactions, helping nurses bond better with their patients and get to know people’s beliefs, values and background story. On top of that, laughter is good for both parties, as it can be used as a coping mechanism during tough situations and build a sense of trust between the two groups.

3. Grab some face time

One concern patients may have is not seeing members of their health-care team often enough. To provide strong levels of care and service, as well as improve satisfaction, nurses should try to complete rounds on an hourly basis. Not only will this give clinicians valuable face time with their patients, but it can also help their patients feel more comfortable. During these visits, health-care providers should also sit down to talk with their patient when there is time, demonstrating active interest in their well-being.
While hourly rounds may be challenging for nurses with all the other tasks on their list, these sessions could be divided between clinicians and their assistants to ensure both groups’ workflows remain productive.

4. Be cognizant of body language

Patients are incredibly aware when it comes to their health and well-being. As a result, they notice even the smallest examples of discomfort or annoyance from their health-care team. Clinicians need to be cognizant of not only their body language, but also their verbal and nonverbal cues while in the workplace. Avoiding eye contact or an attempt to hide an eye roll can make patients feel uncomfortable and worry that their nurses can’t be trusted.

5. Keep your promises

The relationships between nurses and their patients are built on trust and communication. It’s common for these clinicians to go above and beyond to ensure the people they treat receive the highest level of care. Offering to call to check up on a patient is a nice gesture, but health-care providers have to be sure to follow through on these promises. Sticking to their word will not only show patients that nurses care, but help them build credibility.

It’s imperative for nurses to keep their promises to patients to build credibility.

Maintaining a strong and healthy nurse-patient relationship is critical to improving satisfaction levels among patients. To provide the best level of care, clinicians should utilize reflective listening and humor, interact with their patients regularly, watch their body language and follow through on important promises.

Gaining a Master of Science in Nursing degree gives health-care providers the education and resources they need to develop strategies of their own for improving nurse-patient relationships.


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