Advocate and Negotiate
Part of what a nurse does is educate patients. Sometimes, we see a patient who has a new diagnosis that requires a significant lifestyle change. Sometimes we see the same patients for the umpteenth time on the same stuff, different day. The art of negotiation can help you to advocate for your patient in such a way as to help them function. Here's a few helpful hints:
Part of the way that nurses take care of patients is to educate them on how they can take care of themselves. This is not always an easy task, as some patients have such a change in function that a nurse begins with a patient that is so overwhelmed at their diagnosis, it can be daunting--for both the nurse and the patient-- to add another component. However, lets look at some simple tools to be sure that your patient gets what they need (which is not always what they would necessarily want).
1. Does your patient understand their diagnosis?
This can be explained in simple terms, in a way that your patient understands. Don't get too caught up in the technical terms.
2. What is the current lifestyle of your patient?
Can you negotiate a way to incorporate some simple changes that can make a world of difference?
3. Use your multi-media.
If your patient glazes over at the thought of watching a DVD or other TV based education video, then can you use handouts? Brochures?
4. Ask your patient how they learn best.
Some will like to have a handout with notes you make to remind, highlight the main points, do what you can so that the patient can zero in on the strong points.
5. Make sure that you explain medications.
Talk about times they should be taken. If they need to eat first. When they should call the MD if there's an issue. The importance of function with the medications.
6. If your patient is going home with pain control meds, talk about a bowel protocol.
Some patients get so caught up in chasing pain, they then realize they have not moved their bowels in days.
7. Talk about outside resources.
There are day programs, support groups, agencies and volunteer opportunities. Part of what makes a person feel whole again is to feel useful and engaged.
8. If you are dealing with a child, there are lots of things that are available to parents.
There are lots of activities that a child can get involved with that can assist in social function. Look on your local school website. See if there's a Boys and Girls Club, Big Brother/Big Sister organization, A "Y". When kids are sick, they would like to feel like any other kid. If they have missed a lot of school, friends can be an issue.
9. Approach your patient education like a negotiation process.
Sometimes, if you meet resistance, a simple "how can this work for you" can make a world of difference.
10. You may have to revise your methods, add some services that make more sense, get creative.
Sometimes, you will see patients again. And again. For the same stuff. And seemingly, the time and energy you spend educating just doesn't seem to be getting through. This happens, can be frustrating, but try not to internalize this. It is not about you, it is about the process someone needs to go through to attempt to make themselves whole. And don't forget respite care. Sometimes it is a matter of the caregiver at home being overwhelmed. And that's ok. It is exhausting. But they need to hear it is ok, and what is available to them.Last edit by Joe V on Nov 15, '13