Back To CourseNursing 101: Fundamentals of Nursing
14 chapters | 106 lessons
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Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
Even as small children, we learn that friends make the world feel safe and fun. True friends are trusted with our secrets and respect our privacy. Through their actions and words, friends encourage us to reach our goals and comfort us when we have a setback. In a lot of ways, a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship is like a friendship. This professional interaction is a caring relationship that supports a patient's well-being. A successful nurse-patient relationship is based on trust and respect, much like a friendship. In this lesson, we'll look at these components and others and show how they can be used to help a patient move through the different phases of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship.
There are many skills to learn when studying to become a nurse. One of the most important skills is how to create a therapeutic relationship with patients. To do this, a nurse must master a few key components, including trust and respect. As a nurse, you should introduce yourself to your patients and refer to the patient by name. These seemingly small gestures display an air of friendliness, caring, and approachability, which can go a long way toward making a patient feel safe.
When you maintain eye contact with a patient, you continue to foster trust and respect as your relationship progresses. It's also important to respect a patient's boundaries. Some patients feel comforted when their hand is held or they are offered a hug, while other patients may find these actions uncomfortable. Always respect differences in personality and cultures.
Showing a genuine interest in the patient's life and situation is another way to encourage a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship. This can be accomplished by taking a few minutes to build rapport with a patient. It's also supported when you actively listen to a patient. For example, a nurse might say, 'Jane, you mentioned that you're feeling concerned about what the lab tests might reveal.' By restating a patient's statement, you reassure her that her concerns have been heard and that you're interested in her well-being.
Empathy is another component that is essential to a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship. When a nurse shows empathy, she demonstrates that she understands a patient's feelings. To effectively show empathy, a nurse must be able to pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues shared by the patient. For example, if a patient is pacing the floor after learning that her cancer has spread, a nurse might say, 'Jane, I see you're tense. How can I help you?'
Displaying these components helps a patient work through their issues and successfully moves them through the three phases of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship, which are the orientation phase, the working phase, and the termination phase. Yet, even before the nurse and patient meet, we could say that there is a pre-interaction phase. In this phase, the nurse must become aware of her own personal feelings, fears, and worries about working with a patient. This self-awareness allows a nurse to accept a patient's differences without judgment.
The orientation phase is the period when the nurse and patient first meet and goals are set. The goal of the orientation phase is to build trust and respect. During this phase, the roles and limitations of the relationship are communicated through pleasant greetings, eye contact, and mindfulness of the patient's boundaries. It's during the orientation phase that the nurse attempts to discover why the patient is seeking help and what their goals are. Displaying a genuine interest in the patient and showing empathy can help during this information gathering phase.
The working phase is the period when solutions are explored, tried, and evaluated. The goal of the working phase is to promote change. Now, if you've ever been faced with change in your own life, you know that it can be uncomfortable. Because of this inherent discomfort, we see that the working phase can stir up some resistance on the part of the patient. The nurse must expect this behavior and be aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues being displayed by the patient. The nurse can then guide the patient through this phase by actively listening to concerns and helping the patient to develop coping skills. When a safe and comfortable working environment is achieved, treatment can move forward on the established timeline.
The termination phase is the final phase and the period when a patient's goals are assessed and the relationship comes to an end. As you may know from personal experience, the ending of a relationship can be difficult and filled with emotions. The termination of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship can also be challenging. The patient may feel a level of anxiety as they move away from the supportive relationship. A nurse must be aware of the patient's emotions, yet firm in her communication. Because the goal of the termination phase is to foster independence on the part of the patient, the nurse should be caring, but clear, in declaring the end of the relationship. The nurse should not promise the patient that their relationship will continue or give the patient their personal contact information.
The desired outcome of a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship has been met when the patient's function has improved, she develops independence, and she feels comfortable making her own decision.
Let's review. A therapeutic nurse-patient relationship is a caring relationship that supports a patient's well-being. Key components needed to develop a therapeutic relationship include trust, respect, showing a genuine interest, and empathy. Following a pre-interaction phase, which is when the nurse must become aware of her own personal feelings, fears, and worries about working with a patient, there's an orientation phase. The orientation phase is the period when the nurse and patients first meet and goals are set. The goal of the orientation phase is to build trust and respect. Next comes the working phase, which is the period when solutions are explored, tried, and evaluated. The goal of the working phase is to promote change. The termination phase is the final phase and the period when a patient's goals are assessed and the relationship comes to an end. The goal of the termination phase is to foster independence on the part of the patient. Desired outcome of the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship has been met when the patient's function has improved, she develops independence, and she feels comfortable making her own decisions.
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Back To CourseNursing 101: Fundamentals of Nursing
14 chapters | 106 lessons