This nurse-patient relationship article was inspired recently when I, as an RN, spent 4 days in the hospital as a caregiver for a family member who was delirious and unable to speak for himself. The ability to be present and care is one of my favorite topics.
It is what I believe to be one of the most important roles a “nurse” provides. Yet, as insurances demand more for less and technology advances us further into a digital age, the art of being present has all become a lost art.
Here are the things your patient might want to say to you right now:
To be present is to be aware. To be aware is to be mindful. Being mindful implies that you are still, your internal dialogue is quiet and you are present to see what is not completely obvious or expected. In this brief space of being present, this awareness provides inspiration as much as information.
Nursing is a stressful profession. Letting go of distractions in a mind gone wild is part of an effective stress strategy. Mindfulness is being aware in the moment and as you make your rounds, as you go into the room and greet the patient, let your multi-tasking slip away, if only for just a few moments. Simply be present with that patient.
This is a sure way to improve nurse-patient relationships. It only takes two to three minutes to be present and to acknowledge the patient and observe. As you continue to do what you came in to do, let your observations sink in and take note. Take a deep breath and know that you made a difference in your ability to be with that patient, if even for a moment.
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