On being all things to all patients – and some tips to getting through the shift in one piece.
So needy – Why is it that patient’s emotional needs can wear you down faster than their physical needs?
Super-size me – And don’t most patients want you to pile on the time, service, and sweet-talk all the way to the ceiling? Plus they think you should know every latest about their case.
On any given shift, a typical patient mix will be extremely diverse. And patients’ emotional needs are as varied as their diagnoses.
Here’s what experience taught me -
You’ve got the stuff – It can be done – And you are well able to make each patient happy when you set your priorities and communicate well. Even new nurses are well-received and respected when they are open about needing advice occasionally.
Comprehension is key – I found out that the quality time I spent with the patient, early in the shift, made all the difference. When patients truly understand their plan of care for that day – what to expect from all the disciplines and their own role – they relax more and their compliance increases.
Share the love – When your patient understands who does what, they call for you less often. Make sure they have the phone extensions of their CNA, social worker, RT, the kitchen, business office, and the like. Give this information in a positive way that empowers them.
You are brilliant – You graduated college and passed boards. You are a professional in a well-respected vocation. You have a good heart. You serve others to the best of your ability. Most patients, whether or not they ever tell you, appreciate your work and how you made them feel.
They don’t define you – Those patients who do not appreciate you are usually too caught up in their own problems to appreciate anything outside of themselves. So don’t be concerned if they complain. They are defining themselves – not you.
So, can a nurse be all things to all patients? For the most part – yes, you can. And you can do so without hurting yourself. There will always be the exceptions; but as long as you look and behave as a professional, you will be considered as one. When you stay focused, organized, and compassionate, you win their confidence. And their decrease in fear makes a big impact on their speedy recovery.
Next up is the story about the death-CNA. This one will freak you out.
But for now, here’s something that will make you laugh out loud! ￼”Only A Nurse Could Laugh at This…” – Funny Stories and Quotes from Real Nurses for When You’re Having “One of Those Days”