Whether you are new to nursing or a veteran like me, you’ll want to remember to take these three basic actions to gain your patients’ trust.
1. Introduce yourself
Seems elementary right? Groggy from preop medication I laid on a stretcher waiting to be wheeled into the OR. I felt someone tapping the back of my hand. I suspected they were looking for a vein to start an IV. I don’t like being treated like a piece of meat so I pulled my arm away and asked, “Who are you and what are you doing?”
Once I got my answer, I gave this person permission to proceed. I bet they could barely wait to put me asleep!
2. Wear a name tag
What you want to be called should be in big print along with your title. Patients want and need to know who is providing their care. Make sure you wear the tag where patients can see it, not on your waist or attached to your lower leg pocket. Check to be sure your name tag is not turned around or have a name tag with your name on both sides.
3. Don’t be afraid of questions
If patients question you, don’t take it personally. It just means they don’t trust you yet or are anxious about their condition. See it as an opportunity to gain their trust. It never hurts to double check before giving a medication or providing a treatment.
The morning after I gave birth to my first child, a woman in scrubs walked into my hospital room at 7 am. She didn’t wear a name tag or introduce herself. When she said she needed to draw blood, I questioned her. She didn’t like it, but I refused to let her touch me until she rechecked the order. When she returned, she apologized. The blood test was for a patient with a similar name down the hall.
Remembering these basic nursing actions can earn you the respect and trust of your patients. When you have developed a therapeutic trusting relationship with your patients, caring for them becomes so much easier and enjoyable.