We have previously talked about how important communication skills can be for a nurse – you have to deal with strangers and discuss their medical history and conditions on a regular basis, as well as also interact with families of patients, both of which can be quite awkward for both the parties. Thus, it is absolutely essential to harness the power of the right words and make sure that your communication skills can help your patients feel at ease. Vigna World suggests that you make sure that you have the following communication strategies under your belt if you want to handle patients effectively.
BREAK THE ICE
The first step of communication is always breaking the ice. Introduce yourself and take the first step to reach out to the patient. Allow them to feel comfortable enough in your company to introduce themselves and initiate some sort of conversation. This makes sure that they are ready to talk to you.
BUILD A RAPPORT
Don’t just dive into asking the awkward and difficult questions. You might have to ask about their private life or even their sexual history, and they might not feel comfortable sharing it all. Building a rapport can help put them at ease around you, which will, in turn, make it easier for them to share all the needed information more freely and openly with you. Talk about a few generic things, maybe even make a joke or two and let them know that you are not here to judge.
Listening is perhaps the most important communication skill of all. You have to make sure that you listen to every word that your patient says to you. It not only makes sure that you do not miss any crucial piece of information that might help you with your work but also reassures the patient that you care about everything that they have to say, building the trust between you even further.
After you have lent an open ear to the patient, you can take this one step further and showcase some empathy into their situation. Let them know that you understand their pain and discomfort. This will help the patient relate to you, as well as make them trust that you know exactly how to cater to their every need.
If there is any more information that you require from your patient, it is always a good idea to use probing techniques. Probing means asking effective questions so you get the right answers that you are seeking. Probing is most effective if you ask open-ended questions where the patients can elaborate a bit and give you a more rounded idea of what their symptoms and problems are.
Sometimes, you may have to deal with people who are not very adept at communicating their issues, such as extremely old patients, sick people, or young children. In such a scenario, it is most imperative that you never lose your patience and help the people open up to you. If you seem impatient or in a hurry, it can actually make the person not want to share and harm your communication more than it can help.
The people that you are dealing with are either unwell themselves or are the family of someone who is unwell and has visited you to feel better. These people may be nervous or even scared of their conditions or the kind of medical care they will receive under your supervision. It is important for you to reassure them and allay their fears. Speak to them in a calming and soothing tone at all times and sound as positive as you can. You being positive can help the patients feel more relaxed and thus, better equipped to get the required treatment and feel better soon.