The responsibilities of nurses can be emotionally and physically draining. It becomes more challenging when a courteous interpersonal nurse-patient relationship is also required. Yet, a close relationship between nurses and their patients has been shown to impact healthcare through patient-centric care and the capacity for autonomy in a patient’s decision-making.
In reality, to effectively engage in some of the prevalent roles nurses perform daily, there is a need to establish some form of relationship with patients. Therefore, we’ll analyze the nurse-patient relationship and explore its implications for clinical practice, quality healthcare, and patient decision-making capacity.
What is a Nurse-Patient Relationship?
In simple terms, a nurse-patient relationship is a professional relationship between a nurse and a patient. As part of quality healthcare delivery, nurses must develop a dynamic, therapeutic, and ethical relationship in providing care and support to patients, from medications to preventive treatment and diagnostics.
A working nurse-patient relationship centers on trust, communication, collaboration, and mutual respect between both parties, making it an essential element of nursing practice. Furthermore, this form of relationship fosters the provision of quality nursing care by considering a patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs while also providing education and support to the patient and their family.
Every nursing professional must consciously strive to improve patient care and overall experience. In some cases, nurses can achieve this through a strong relationship with each patient. Furthermore, the essence of this relationship is applicable in every setting, from pediatric care to long-term healthcare establishments such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Impacts of Nurse-Patient Relationship on Healthcare
The importance of a nurse-patient relationship in nursing practice is apparent across every nursing profession, from those in emergency rooms to professionals providing in-home care. How a nurse interacts with patients has a significant impact on health outcomes.
But why exactly is the nurse-patient relationship so highly regarded across the nursing profession? We explore some of the impacts of this relationship in healthcare.
Patient compliance refers to patient adherence to a prescribed diet or treatment and whether the patient returns for re-examination, follow-up, or treatment. How well a patient complies with specified treatment plans can determine the outcome, and a positive nurse-patient relationship can foster patient compliance in several ways.
When patients trust, respect, and maintain a solid relationship with their nurses, they are more likely to follow specific recommendations and instructions. Nurses who exhibit patience and empathy characteristics make it easy for patients to ask questions, request help, and voice any concerns, leading to better compliance.
Additionally, nurses who take the time to explain things and understand the preferences and needs of patients can help them increase their autonomy and ownership over their care, which also promotes compliance.
Patient satisfaction is paramount in healthcare, yet it can be challenging to measure in many cases, as there is no specific quantitative way or any controls that can be set in place. However, a positive nurse-patient relationship can contribute significantly to patient satisfaction. When nurses respond well to patients and meet their expectations, patients are more likely to feel satisfied with the overall medical experience.
Empathetic and compassionate nurses also make patients feel more satisfied. Additionally, treating patients with respect and dignity, as well as effective communication, can contribute to satisfaction with their care. Overall, the key to fostering patient satisfaction through the nurse-patient relationship is creating an environment centered on the patient’s needs and preferences.
Quality of healthcare
Aside from patient compliance and satisfaction, an excellent nurse-patient relationship can result in improved health outcomes for the patient. Patients who trust and feel comfortable with their nurse are more likely to explore better-quality treatment plans and take an active role in their healthcare.
These strong relationships help nurses identify and address all medical and non-medical issues that could impact a patient’s health, from social to emotional factors. This can help ensure that patients receive the most thorough and effective care possible. All in all, the nurse-patient relationship is an essential aspect of the healthcare delivery process and can significantly impact the quality of care.
How to Develop a Nurse-Patient Relationship
It’s possible for those interested in nursing to gain the skills required to build quality relationships with their patients. As a significant aspect of modern healthcare, professionals seeking to develop competency in this and other relevant aspects of nursing can explore accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs from Baylor University online.
Alternatively, there are steps nurses can take to help them establish a positive relationship with patients. Some of these tips include:
Empathy and compassion
Aside from caring for a patient, nurses must deeply understand the patient’s current mental state and perspectives on their health. Therefore, showing empathy and compassion can help develop a strong patient bond. As a nurse, you should listen attentively to patients’ feelings, viewpoints and concerns and try to understand and act on their perspectives.
Patients want to be included in their treatment plans. In fact, numerous studies have underlined the effectiveness of healthcare centered on a patient. Hence, nurses should consistently communicate medical procedures and treatment plans to patients clearly and concisely.
Respect and trust
All relationships are built on respect, and healthcare is no exception. While nurses are responsible for providing medical care, it’s also essential to relinquish some of this control and respect a patient’s right to make decisions regarding their treatment. Additionally, trust is vital in any relationship, especially those developed in a healthcare setting. Thus, you should be honest and completely transparent with patients.
Patience is a vital quality for nurses in their interaction with patients, and it helps to strengthen their respect and trust further. Nurses should employ patience at different levels, from handling patients to understanding specific conditions and creating effective treatment plans. Overall, patience is crucial for providing the best possible care to patients.
Confidentiality is an essential aspect of healthcare, as it helps to make patients feel safe and secure when sharing personal and sensitive information. As you would expect, confidentiality also fosters good relationships. Hence, a nurse’s responsibility is to keep patients’ information as confidential as possible.
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