Tips to Help Nurses Engage Patients

TaleMed-SocialSharing_May2016_EngagePatientsCommunication is important in the nursing profession. The dialog that occurs between you and the rest of the healthcare team—but also between you and your patients—directly impacts the quality of care patients receives. It’s vital for you to engage patients in their own care. This way, they understand their treatment regimen and feel involved in their recovery—even empowered.

Improve patient recovery time

The speed of a patient’s recovery can also be affected by the reassurance and empathy you offer. Your patients will feel as if someone understands the seriousness of their illness or injury. This can help to put the patient at ease, and add to his or her trust in your care. A calmer patient will be more likely to abide with the recommended treatment, his or her medication regimen, etc.

How travel nurses can engage patients

As you search for travel nurse opportunities, it can help to tack on a few new nurse/patient communication skills. Consider the following:

  1. Avoid medical jargon. Clear communication in plain English is your best strategy when communicating with patients. They shouldn’t need to figure out what exactly it is that you mean, and for this reason you should avoid all jargon and medical terminology. You should also explain all treatments and medication information in easy-to-understand, straight-forward language. Remember, a patient may be upset, confused or in pain, and the easier you can make it to understand what you’re saying, the less stress you’ll be placing on the patient.
  2. Involve the patient’s family. In most cases, at least one member of a patient’s family will be around when you’re communicating with a patient. By speaking to both parties, you’re not only being inclusive, but adding an extra layer of insurance if a patient doesn’t remember everything you say. Since the patient’s family will be a support network, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. If a family member is not present when you communicate with the patient, simply pull them aside the next time they’re in for a visit, and review anything you may have told the patient.
  3. Speak at eye level. Most patients will be in their hospital bed, wheel chair or bedside chair when you speak to them. It can help to pull up a chair so you’re eye level with the patient. This way, you can maintain a more interactive and possibly less-threatening conversation—it will seem more like you’re talking with them, and less like you’re talking at them.

For more information

Good communication is so important that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a guide on some of the best ways to involve patients (and their families) in their healthcare. You can refer to this for more tips and information.

Put your communication skills into practice

If you’re looking for a travel nurse opportunity in New Orleans—or other cities across the country—check out TaleMed. Our team of professional nursing recruiters will work with you to find a travel placement that meets your career needs. To learn more, visit our job search page or contact us today!

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