Hospital stays can be difficult and stressful for patients and their families. Patients may experience difficult emotions, including worry, discomfort, and fear, which can hinder their recovery and exacerbate symptoms like pain. Sound psychological and emotional health can improve patient outcomes, and healthcare professionals, especially nurses, are in a position to support patients experiencing emotional difficulties.
Nurses are a trusted part of the healthcare industry. These professionals put in an endless effort to determine and safeguard the needs of patients throughout their entire healthcare journey. Nursing involves more than merely checking up on patients, administering medication, and updating the doctor on their health status.
Nursing professionals care for their clients in various ways. As a professional nurse, you get to know patients better than other healthcare providers, like doctors, since you spend one-on-one time with them. From responding to patient queries to assisting families in understanding the patient’s state and alleviating any associated fear, nurse practitioners are responsible for many aspects of health care delivery.
Listed below are several ways you can provide your patients with emotional support:
1. Prepare Yourself
Whether emotional or physical, getting yourself ready is the first stage in offering support to a patient. Want to know how? Nursing professionals must have the qualifications and skills to provide quality health care. The higher qualified and trained you are, the more skilled you are to complete your tasks efficiently. According to research, nurses who pursue higher education tend to be reasonably proficient at diagnosing diseases, possess excellent leadership and communication skills, and are experts at delivering care.
Are you a Registered Nurse with a bachelor’s degree? Do you think of advancing your education to the next level? You can explore different specializations of masters in nursing, like nursing administration, public health nursing, and nursing informatics, and enroll in the one that suits your interest. Completing a master’s degree will help level up your knowledge and improve your research and clinical abilities, allowing you to increase your expertise in the nursing profession.
2. Ensure Effective Communication with Patients
Nurses know about patients’ needs, concerns, and medical issues through communication, which involves active listening. Good communication between nursing professionals and patients is essential for delivering optimal care.
Listening to your patients is one of the effective ways to offer them emotional support. It is also a groundwork of patient care, monitoring, and treatment. When you talk to your client, you can interpret their feelings and thoughts about an illness, injury, or trauma. Start conversating with your patients, make them feel you are listening to them, and recognize any physical or psychological challenges they might face. Look for ways to distract them from their worries, such as sharing your funny incident or a joke.
3. Help Them Adapt to the Hospital Atmosphere
People usually head to the hospital because they are ill or want to see someone sick. The thought of going to the hospital alone can make people feel worried and fearful.
When a person is hospitalized, they may be uncomfortable since the environment is unlike living in their cozy home. Patients need some time to adapt to hospital life. Anything can annoy them, from the smells and sounds to the food the hospital serves. However, nursing professionals can help patients feel a bit relaxed. Here are a few things you can do as a nurse:
- Minimize the lighting or give the patient a remote control.
- Adjust the temperature of the space to suit the patient’s preferences.
- Provide a variety of food options.
- Play soothing music if the patient is comfortable.
- Put scented oils into a diffuser.
Even though a hospital has a professional atmosphere, these minor adjustments or modifications can make patients feel more relaxed and less anxious, fostering healing.
4. Educate Patients About Their Treatment Processes
Patient education plays an essential role in patient outcomes. It was once a physician’s or a doctor’s duty, but nowadays, the nursing staff is also responsible for helping individuals know about their health status.
When it comes to patients undergoing a procedure for diagnosis or treatment, certain things need to be taken care of, such as diet, medication, or other preparations. Regardless of the procedure, nurses are responsible for educating patients about various things, including treatment procedures and how to get ready for it, physically and mentally.
As a nurse, you must ensure answering each query from your patient, such as which anesthesia will be administered or the potential risks of medication or procedure. Try to clarify every question compassionately. Additionally, try to cheer them up if your patient is nervous about the medical procedure.
5. Help Them Deal with The Illness or Trauma
Whether an individual has undergone a traumatic accident or has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, the emotions tend to be stronger than the pain. Studies show that mental discomfort can hinder patient recovery. So, a patient must be emotionally healthy to promote healing and enhance health outcomes.
As a nurse practitioner, you can help your patients feel calm and cope with illness. Try to convince them that their symptoms might be normal and that there is no need to worry. Help them find relaxing activities. Encourage the patient to share their experiences, emotions, and thoughts with social support systems like family and friends so they do not pile up and add to their stress.
6. Keep an Eye on Their Mental Wellbeing
The illness, ongoing treatment, and the hospital setting can all increase stress and harm a patient’s mental health. The longer the hospital stay, the higher the chance of developing mental health problems.
Your patients might get fed up with medicines, injections, routine checkups, and the same hospital setting. They might ask for your assistance since they interact with nurses most frequently.
Nursing professionals must be able to identify any alterations in a patient’s actions or mental health. However, they should report to the doctor if the issue continues or worsens.
7. Offer Help to the Patient’s Family
Family members and other close friends will frequently visit the patient to check on their health, learn about their treatment options, and monitor their recovery. They may be experiencing multiple emotions, such as hope and anxiety, affecting their mental health. The patient’s family may also require support to manage these emotions and lower the risk of developing challenging conditions such as stress and anxiety.
There are some ways you can help your patient’s family; speak to them and remind them that caring for themselves is just as essential as taking care of their loved ones in the hospital. You can also suggest to them ways to get professional assistance to deal with emotional challenges, like counseling.
Injury, trauma, or chronic illness can all add to patient discomfort while hospitalized. Individuals may feel hopeless and afraid, resulting in deteriorating mental health. Nursing professionals are the only qualified healthcare providers who can offer emotional support to patients. With other essential nursing duties, nurses must be able to help patients overcome emotional challenges to foster recovery and health outcomes.