The Importance of Nursing Bedside Manners
Why are Bedside Manners Important in Healthcare
There are a lot of qualifications you need to meet in order to become a nurse. There’s the education aspect of the profession (RNs require a four-year degree, while LPNs require some sort of post-secondary education, typically program courses that can be completed in about a year). Then, of course, there is the licensing aspect and certifications that would-be nurses need to acquire before they can become employed. But, there are other intangibles that help make a good nurse. One is superior communication skills, so you’re able to convey information to patients professionally, accurately and without stuttering or hesitation. Another huge intangible is genuinely caring about and showing compassion with your patients, otherwise known as bedside manners.
Good bedside manners can help put a patient at ease and also help you administer more effective care to a patient. Here’s a closer look at how huge of a role good bedside manners play in a medical environment:
Before we get into how patients can benefit from good bedside manners, we should first explain how doctors can benefit from working with nurses demonstrating good manners. Here’s how: Doctors are busy and often tasked with treating a variety of patients. Doctors aren’t there necessarily to be a patient’s friend, but to uncover the symptoms and treat conditions in patients. By demonstrating good bedside manners, the nurse is able to make the connection with a patient that the doctor may not have the time or the will to do. This allows the doctor to do his or her job and the nurse to effectively stand-in as the “middle man” of sorts, in terms of dealing with the patient.
If patients are at a doctor’s office or have been admitted to a hospital, chances are they’re not there because everything is all fine and dandy. No, they’re there because they’re not feeling well and want to be treated, so they can recover from whatever condition is plaguing them. With this in mind, wouldn’t you come to the conclusion that a patient is already under enough stress and worry as it is? Poor bedside manners just make the experience all the more miserable for the patient. What’s more is that if you don’t exhibit good bedside manners, the patient may be less likely to share information with you. And, information on signs and symptoms, medical history, allergies and other factors that could influence their treatment are quite important.
Even if the patient’s prognosis is not positive and appears bleak, that’s perhaps when bedside manners become even more important. If a condition is deemed uncorrectable or terminal, it’s your job as a nurse to make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible for the remainder of their stay – and possible the rest of their life.
Aside from making sure patients are comfortable and at ease, having good bedside manners and being able to get a smile or two out of a patient is an extremely rewarding feeling. We repeat – it’s never fun for anyone to be in a hospital. But, who is to say you can’t share a laugh or a smile with a patient while they’re there. Don’t just go through the motions with your patients, but take an active role in asking them questions and sitting down and actually talking with them about things, whether it’s medically-related or not. Doing so is certain to make their stay better and will also make you feel better as well.
It’s in the Oath
Finally, do not look further than “The Nightingale Pledge” that nurses take. The last line, in particular, states that nurses devote themselves to those within their care. A part of that is bedside manner nursing, as the verbal communication that you have with a patient qualifies in that last line there. Remember, caring for your patients and showing empathy for their conditions, as well as for those who are suffering is what nursing is all about. It’s likely why you got into this profession in the first place. Keep that in mind.