June 19, 2010

3 Ways to Make Your Patients Smile

Posted in Nursing Career, Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 2:11 am by Nursing Tales Team

Being a nurse is a very rewarding thing.  However, no matter where you work, there are days that bring challenges.  Sometimes they are small and sometimes these challenges shake you to your core.  Sometimes you might forget the reasons why you love your job so much.  And in the midst of the feelings that you go through as a nurse, you have patients who rely on you to calm them, lift their spirits, and even give them confidence in themselves.  It doesn’t matter who your patients are; they all have essentially the same needs at the most basic level.

To be the best nurse you can be, it helps to fill your toolbox with all the things that help you meet the needs of your patients at all levels.  Of course you can meet their medical needs; that’s what you went to school for.  But you also need to fill your toolbox with things that help you meet their emotional and spiritual needs.  Luckily, making your patients smile is not a difficult task if you have the right tools.

Ever heard the phrase knowledge is power?  Well this is a fact, not just something you would see on a bumper sticker.  As a nurse, you may be limited to how much information you can personally give to a patient; but here is how information helps you..When you know what your patient is up against, you can be mentally prepared to help them through it before it ever happens.  Let’s say you are a pediatric nurse and your patient is going to get a shot.  This is all in a days work for the ped nurse.  Because you know what to expect, your calm demeanor (and quickness of hand) can help the patient get through their unpleasant situation better than if you were unsure.  When the professional is unsure, the patient will certainly be unsure!

Everyone knows that children love color.  This is why the walls of the Peds unit in any hospital are colored with murals depicting bright skies or colorful characters.  But perhaps what you wear has an effect on a patient of any age.  If you are a nurse who works on the cardiac ward, and you wear the same blue or green scrubs day in and day out, try mixing it up sometime and wear scrubs that you might think belong in the pediatric clinic.  This is a little thing; but it’s the simple things that can really reach a sick patient.

And lastly, but certainly not unimportant, your smile is what brings a smile to your patients faces.  When you are busy, it can be easy to forget to smile – to really connect with your patient.  And yet this one act – an act that takes only a few seconds of your time – can make an enormous difference in how your patient feels.  Offer your smile, with shining eyes and real feeling, and you have effectively brightened your patient’s day.

It doesn’t matter where you work; hospital or clinic or private office.  The life of a nurse is a busy one.  It may seem like you do the same things all day long; but your patient is only with you for a short time.  While your actual job description is to provide a level of medical care; the person in front of you needs more than just that.  They need to see you; and need to know that you see them.  This goes beyond medical care and into the realm of really touching a life.

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