Nursing News: Advice on How to Improve Bedside Manners
Ways to Improve Bedside Manners
What can you do to improve your reputation and develop a nice bedside manner with your patients? Don’t worry, you don’t have to take acting 101, nor do you have to open your heart to every stranger you meet. You may be surprised on how easy it is to build basic rapport and trust with a person by merely following these bedside manners advice.
Make the place homey
Keeping little things that make the uncomfortable hospital bed feel a bit like home is always a nice touch. Keep the room clean, but not sterile. Add flowers if appropriate, or ask a relative to bring some home items for the patient. Let plenty of sunshine inside. This will all go a long way in transforming this cold and intimidating place to a location of comfort and rejuvenation.
Remember too that nursing is a team effort
There is no way to separate yourself from the group, because the nursing staff is a team. You operate as a team to care for the patient, to provide doctors’ with assistance in the ER, surgery, or in a clinic, and you operate as a team to care for your patients emotionally. The leader will show you how to practice good bedside manner, and you will share your knowledge with others. Teams of nurses are told to try to make small talk whenever possible, as a break of tension. It might also help to keep a few stock questions in mind, and to make sure you and the other nurses aren’t asking the same questions.
Follow the leader
Nurses are usually trained by team leaders and they are often very skilled at dealing with patients and providing emotional support. Nurse leaders can show you how to build better rapport and can also show examples of good bedside manner. Emulate their behavior, attitude, and manners.
Imagine that you’re talking to a family member
It’s understandable why you see a stranger with a certain level of detachment. However, you will quickly notice your disposition changing when you imagine that the patient is a beloved family member. Think of someone you know in a similar age group who could have the same problem? How would you talk to your own father, mother, son or daughter? This is the best way to learn compassion, as opposed to simulating it.
Yes, you might be surprised at how many patients rave about how friendly and kind a nurse is, simply because he or she smiles! A frown or a straight face is obviously not going to endear you to anyone. That’s why the best nurses always smile before entering a room. What really helps—especially in the middle of all this sickness and death—is carrying around things that you personally find comforting. For example, a photo of a friend, loved one or child, as well as inspiring or funny quotes. A motivational board, or maybe a picture of a fond memory. When you feel happy by thinking of positive things, you exude happiness and your smile is genuine. The biggest challenge will come when you are able to smile wide and free even when angry or difficult patients are in a room. Breaking their walls down and making them happy will also be a unique joy all on its own!