One of the foundations of working in healthcare is building relationships with patients. Whether a patient needs to go to a hospital, long-term care facility, or outpatient setting for a procedure, it can induce anxiety. Therapeutic relationships with the healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care can help lessen patient anxiety and may improve outcomes. If you’re seeking to build upon or improve your relationship skills with your patients, here are four hacks you can implement on your next shift!
Consider Your Body Language
Is your hand already on the door when you ask your patient if there is anything else they need? If you appear rushed or already out the door, the patient may not feel like they can ask another question or raise a concern. We know healthcare is a busy place to work. However, before you turn to head out of a patient’s room, consider pausing and turning towards your patient when you ask them if they have any questions, concerns, or need anything else. Your patient will feel heard and seen, improving your bedside manner.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions can provide more information about a patient’s condition than yes and no questions can. Some questions, such as what number a pain rating is, are meant to provide one-word answers. Other questions should be open-ended so that the patient feels heard and can voice any questions or concerns. For example, consider these examples:
- Do you have any questions? This is a yes/no question.
- What questions do you have for me? This allows an open-ended approach.
- Are you feeling better today? Again, this is a yes/no question.
- How are you feeling today? This allows the patient to elaborate and describe how they are feeling.
When a patient is allowed to provide open-ended answers to questions, they also have the opportunity to provide helpful information.
Ask a Non-Medical Question
While you likely don’t have several extra minutes to spend with each patient, consider adding 1-2 minutes of relationship-building beyond the medical talk. Pick a question you ask your patients, so they feel seen and hard on a personal level. Examples may include:
- How is your day going so far?
- Is there anything I can do to make your day better?
- What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
These questions build rapport and let you know your patients better. It can also lead to better patient care. For example, maybe there aren’t many more medical options for pain management, but your patient is still in pain. However, if you learn about a favorite television show or that they enjoy knitting, you can offer these interests as a distraction to help them recover.
Incorporate Shared Decision Making
When a patient is ill, it can feel scary. There are often several decisions to make, and a patient may feel like they have lost control. When practical, incorporate shared decision-making with your patient. This could be as simple as letting the patient know it is time to brush teeth, wash hair, and take morning medications. And then allow the patient the opportunity to pick which order those care tasks happen. When patients feel in control, it can also help improve their involvement and adherence to their care plan.
Are You Ready to Incorporate These Hacks?
If you are a healthcare provider excited to incorporate hacks like these into your daily practice, consider healthcare contract staffing with 365 Healthcare Staffing Services. A nationwide healthcare staffing agency, 365 Healthcare Staffing Services seeks dedicated individuals willing to go above and beyond for their patients. Consider a new career adventure and explore their open positions!