Making the most of Clinicals Part 3: Building a good rapport with patients

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    This is the third part in the "Making the most of Clinicals" article series. In this article it is the goal to assist nursing students in developing a good rapport with patients at the beginning of the clinical day by using good therapeutic communication skills, positive body language and empathy.

    Having good social skills is crucial when working in a field like nursing where a large part of your day is caring for and communicating with people. It is important to develop positive social skills so that it will be easier to succeed with your goal of becoming a good nurse. It is my goal in this article to assist you, the nursing student, to be perceptive to the patientís needs and feelings and to treat them with dignity and respect. We will discuss ways of developing a good rapport with your patient at the beginning of your clinical day. You will be surprised at how much easier your day may be when this is done.

    Have you ever been to a drive through window or at a restaurant and had an employee with poor social skills ďhelpĒ you? They didnít make eye contact or may have been rude. It was obvious they didnít care. In the back of your mind, you wonder if they might have spit in your food. How did this make you feel? Was this a pleasant experience? Did it make you feel welcome or want to return to the establishment to be treated poorly again? Of course not, no one wants to be treated poorly. Now put this into the perspective of a sick patient. They donít feel well and now they are being ďcared forĒ by someone who doesnít really seem to care. In my opinion, this is not a therapeutic atmosphere for a patient.

    Working with people can be very interesting because we are all different. We respond differently in how we are treated and how we learn and retain information. This is where your social skill building will come into play. As you work with patients you will learn how to interact with different types of patients (this also applies to a patientís family). Some patients may fit into neat little categories: the nice patient, the grumpy, stubborn patient, the scared/fearing the unknown patient, the patient who wants to be listened to, the needy patient. Some patients are all the above. I could go on and on.

    I have noticed that if a patient feels that you really care and you are there to advocate for them they will be more receptive to you. When you first meet the patient, it is important to make good eye contact with them, use positive body language (they are more perceptive then you think). Make it obvious that you care and that you are there for them. If the patient is on pain medications (using a post-op patient as an example) make sure and discuss a plan for the day and discuss how you will try to control the patientís pain. Doing these things will show the patient that you care. As you work with patients you will get better at interacting with them. Remember that they are people just like you, going back to my bad service at a restaurant example. Put yourself in the patientís shoes. Do you want bad service, or good service? The answer is obvious, we want to be provided with good service. Showing a patient dignity and respect is the key.

    Making the most of Clinicals Part 1: Turn negative experiences into positive learning
    Making the most of Clinicals Part 2: You're on stage-Make a good first impression
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 30, '13
    mzrenegade68, priorities2, Joe V, and 7 others like this.

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  2. About NF_eyenurse, BSN

    OR circulator in an ambulatory surgery center. Previously worked as an RN for 3 1/2 years on a telemetry unit. I enjoy mentoring nursing students and new grad RNs. Prior experience as a certified opthalmic assistant and LASIK technician/assistant for 13 years.

    NF_eyenurse has '6' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Ambulatory Surgery, Ophthalmology, Tele'. From 'USA'; 42 Years Old; Joined Dec '08; Posts: 3,626; Likes: 5,528.

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    4 Comments so far...

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    Respect begets respect. Thank you for this article. Truly worth reading!
    Rosenhammer and NF_eyenurse like this.
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    Quote from amygarside
    Respect begets respect. Thank you for this article. Truly worth reading!
    Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm glad you liked it.
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    Great article. Your right, respect is key.
    NF_eyenurse likes this.
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    nursefrances, thank you for the great post. I would love to see each of my patients in the beginning of the shift and go over the plan. Because, if the roles were reversed, I would greatly appreciate if the nurse, to whom I would be assigned, would take time to show me care. I realize that often nurses are stretched out thin, and hope that the setting, where I will be working, will allow me some time with my patients.
    NF_eyenurse likes this.

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