Communicating with patients is one of the most important aspects of providing compassionate nursing care. But having enough time to genuinely connect with each patient can seem like an impossible task.
In an interview with PatientEngagementHIT.com, Press Ganey Chief Nursing Officer Christy Dempsey, MSN, CNOR, CENP suggests tips for overcoming time limits and engaging with each patient on a personal level.
Dempsey believes that making a real connection with a patient can take as little as one minute. Her method emphasizes interpersonal skills that can fall by the wayside under the ever-increasing workload which faces many nurses:
“There is so much to do, so much to accomplish, so many checklists to fulfill that the connected nurse is going away and becoming a lost art. I wanted to help nurses understand that it doesn’t take more time to connect. Instead, it’s how nurses connect that makes a difference.”
A gesture as simple as sitting down with the patient at the outset of treatment and engaging them in conversation about their hobbies is one way to bridge the gap between patient and provider.
Addressing patients not in terms of their illness, but as individuals with their own multifaceted lives, goes a long way toward helping them feel comfortable and safe:
“Nurses do have the biggest impact on the patient experience and we need to ensure we’re setting our nurses up for success. It’s important in how we prepare nurses and how we continue to prepare nurses in how to make those connections. It doesn’t take that long to do, but they need to practice that so they can do it.”