To develop a good bedside manner is just as valuable as learning any other clinical skill, and if this part of the job is perfected you will become a more well rounded professional. For example, when dealing with an anxious teenager or someone with a condition that they are obviously embarrassed about, gaining their trust is paramount. This will ultimately make you better at your job, no matter how long you have been doing it. Here are five tips to improve your bedside manner from someone with a master of nursing.
Even though there are 20 different jobs and places to be at any one moment of the day, for the patient it is essential that they get the assistance they merit. Always remember that when dealing with a patient not only is it necessary that you give your full attention, but also they need to be aware that you are totally focused on their needs at that moment in time. If this means, saying that they have to wait for a few minutes while you finish off something, then this is what needs to be done. It is difficult, but make sure that you focus on each patient 100% without being distracted.
Be aware of your own body language and work on giving out positive vibes. Do not use a defensive pose such as crossing your arms. Be relaxed, confident and make appropriate eye contact, and this will make the patient feel comfortable. Always look interested in what a patient is telling you and do not let your eyes wander.
Put yourself in the position of the patient and try to understand what emotions they are going through. It is not easy to reassure without being patronizing. Avoid saying things like “I know how you feel”. Become more of a listener than prejudging and saying what you think they would like to hear.
Choose what words you say
Do not to use medical jargon and always be confident in your dealing with a patient. Be careful how you say things; for example, ‘everything is ok,’ is much more positive than ‘there isn’t anything wrong’. Even though, these two phrases seem the same, the second has a more negative aspect which the patient could pick up on.
Remain in control of the situation
Just like any job where you are dealing with members of the public, a skilled health professional needs to be not only be able to adapt to many different personalities, but be able to remain in control of any number of given situations. Working life will always be busy, and there will always be patients that want to talk about their problems. Without doubt, it is vital to listen, but you cannot spend too much time on just one person. Do not be rude but have some phrases on hand to finish a conversation. There is a need to listen in this profession and you should not just brush aside persons concerns.
This post is written by Kelly Trapp, a top nurse in Fairfield, CT with a master of nursing and 6 years of experience helping others.