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Nurses are the largest population of health care workers, and since directly linked to patient’s performance, they are greatly responsible for insights that may come from their communication. Such insights may be of great use for the treatment process, so it is of primary importance for nurses to explicitly understand patients’ experiences. The paper proves that to help patients, nurses have to create an engaging atmosphere and develop trustworthy relationships with patients and their families. Those relationships shall be based on openness and affection so that patients feel comfortable sharing their health status.
Communication and Understanding
The easiest and the most widely used way to perceive information is through communication, verbal, or non-verbal. It is usually thought that a full understanding of each other in nurse-patient communication requires an explicit understanding of all the terms used in a dialogue. Although the patient needs to understand the basics of medical terminology, explicit understanding of all the terms that are used is not mandatory. The theory of implicit conceptions implies that even when people do not have the same explicit understanding of the expression, they can associate the same concept with the same language expression (Nordby, 2016). The patient-nurse communication, therefore, should not necessarily require their identic meaning conceptions, but rather implicit ones. Understanding the medical basics combined with friendly communication mood is far more critical in decreasing the misunderstanding risk than the explicit knowledge of terms.
Empathy and Affection
Patients are rarely eager to discuss their physical and mental state in detail if they do not feel nurses’ affection. Consequently, it is a nurse who shall make the first step to create a pleasant and favorable relationship with a patient. Nursing is “the art of conveying medical science holistically with compassion and dignity” (Marchuk, 2014, p. 271). Providing a patient with a pleasant atmosphere “aids in the provision of individualized care” (Marchuk, 2014, p. 267) and is one of the main tasks of nursing.
When a patient feels that a nurse is empathetic, he or she perceives her as a friend and becomes eager to talk and share. Apart from the right approach, another critical requirement for a meaningful conversation is enough time (Nordby, 2016). When patients feel that a nurse is in a hurry and wants to go to the next patient as soon as possible, they do not feel like sharing their health status in detail.
Engagement with Family
It is usually not a patient who can articulate his/her health and mental state the most vividly but rather family members who provide invaluable insights about the patient’s habits or precedents that are relevant to the current illness and enhance the treatment. Consequently, to gain the full image of a patient’s health, it is often beneficial to talk to his/her family. However, a nurse shall remember that it is necessary to be empathetic with a patient’s family just like with him/her.
Summing up, as nursing is an integral part of a patient’s treatment and the healthcare system as a whole, nurses are responsible for getting valuable information about a patient’s health status. To get the full image, a nurse has to create an engaging atmosphere with a patient and his/her family and make sure that all of them share implicit conceptions while communicating. The holistic nursing approach helps to enhance both the patient’s and the nurse’s experience.
Marchuk, A. (2014). A personal nursing philosophy in practice. Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 20(6), 266–273.
Nordby, H. (2016). The meaning of illness in nursing practice: A philosophical model of communication and concept possession. Nursing Philosophy, 17(2), 103-118.