If you didn’t know (though we’re sure you did), the word “nurse” was derived from the Latin phrase “to nourish,” and we can’t think of a description more appropriate for this profession. As a nurse, you’re in the business of helping patients return to robust health so they can live life to the fullest, much as food calms our appetites and fuels our days.
Many of us are at our most temperamental when we are hungry, because we feel weak. But that’s nothing compared to patients who are possibly in the weakest or most vulnerable moments of their lives. As their caretaker, you’re in the unique and trusted position of intercepting and easing these frustrations, sorrows, and anxieties as they flare up. You have the seasoned nursing experience to tend to your patients physically, but are you certain that you’re communicating with them in a way that makes them feel understood and cared for?
Below, we’ve noted 5 key phrases to help you showcase the much-needed empathy your patients may be craving in those tough moments.
- First, be sure to use their name when you speak with them.
It goes without saying that no one wants to feel like a “to-do” being crossed off a task list, and your patients are no exception. Not only does using a patient’s name make them feel seen, it also shows them that you’re present and making the strong effort to build a professional and healthy relationship with them.
- “My name is…” (Introduce yourself)
In addition to using your patient’s name, introducing yourself when you enter the room will also showcase that, although your day may be chaotic, you’re taking the time to make a meaningful introduction and build a rapport with them.
- “That sounds very frustrating and I’m sorry you’re experiencing that.”
In any healthy relationship, it’s important to validate someone’s feelings when they’re struggling by illustrating that you recognize and accept their emotions. Before you jump into troubleshooting solutions, first take the time to listen to what they’re experiencing or going through, then empathize with them as much as you can so that they feel heard and understood.
- “I’m here for you right now / you are my focus.”
We’ve already mentioned that being present with your patients is key to building trust—and though it can be easily assumed that you’re there to help them, saying it out loud will only drive home your commitment to care for their needs at that time.
- “Call me if you need anything.”
Though, as a travel nurse, you may not always have returning patients, offering up the opportunity for them to contact you if they experience additional complications is a fantastic way to show that you value the relationship, whether it be long or short-term.
Though the spoken word is invaluable when it comes to building your rapport with patients, eye contact and active listening are also critical to ensure your patient receives the best care and experience possible!