One statement we have all heard from mom is, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." That moniker definitely applies to bedside nursing.
We all have time to show compassion to our patients. If you think you don't, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your job description or work location.
The following are some simple ideas to keep in mind when "treating" your patients. Many of these apply only to the hospital setting but others apply to every situation.
- Imagine that it is your parent or child lying there. How would you like him/her to be treated? Enough said on that one!
- The little things in caring for patients mean a lot. Clean the bedside table, supply the patient with fresh water, make sure the covers are pulled up, and offer to open the blinds to let some light in. How long does each of these simple tasks really take? Not long and they will go a long way in the eyes of your patients.
- Make a big difference in patient care. Patients may ask, "Can we talk about something other than my illness please?" Don't you think your patient would like you to take a moment to find out something else about him/her besides the details of the illness at hand? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children or grandchildren? Those are simple questions that show you are interested in the patient as a person.
Bring comfort to the patient's room. Take the time to make sure the linen and gown has been changed and the patient has been bathed. Sadly, this does not happen as often as it should. Why not? A nice warm bath does wonders for the spirit!
- The call button is there for a reason. I have been a patient in a hospital three different times. I rang the call button only when I really needed something. The response each time? "I'll be right there". And all three times, no one came! Think about the irony of this!
- Ask open ended questions. You will gain more insight into the patient. Questions like, "How did you feel when that happened?" or "What do you usually do when that happens?" The answers to open ended questions will give you more information than you were originally seeking. Remember, information is power! The information you gain from your patients gives you, and ultimately the patient, more power in healing to his/her maximum extent.
Having a positive, compassionate, and caring attitude can avoid patient complaints, and more importantly, give patients greater comfort in times of need. Promote the entire nursing profession with your friendly bedside manner!
I asked my mother, who is elderly and often a patient in the hospital, what her biggest complaint with nurses is. This is the final tip:
- Say my name and make eye contact. Again, simple, non-time stealing requests that increase satisfaction of your patients. Don't make your patients feel like a "number" – say their name! Please make eye contact, even for a brief moment, because you are making a person to person connection!
The role of nurses is evolving quickly. Today, they aren't just caring for the sick but let us not forget that your patients are your priority. To bring in positive thinking and enlightenment to bedside nursing, treat your patients as your own and make a bigger difference for them.