The centrality of the nurse-patient relationship: A Scandinavian perspective.
I'm a medical-surgical nurse at a large urban hospital. Five days ago, I was assigned as the primary care nurse for a patient—let's call him Dan—who's. A therapeutic nurse-patient relationship is defined as a helping relationship that's based on mutual trust and respect, the nurturing of faith and hope, being. Nurses work in patient care, but also in customer service. Maintaining a professional, courteous interpersonal relationship can be challenging. However, it can.
The notion of place seems to be particularly present in these experiences: How could nurses and patients create shared understanding when their worldviews appeared to be so different? Perhaps the answer lies in the overarching theme of mindful approaches.
In this inquiry, the accounts of nurses and patients appeared to suggest that frontline encounters were often filled with tension and defensiveness. It makes sense then that nurses and patients, having experienced the frontline encounters, would wish to uncover and inhabit a more shared, intersubjective space. Each would be able to understand the other and, without losing the identities of patient and nurse, create an encounter that more closely resembles a person-to-person connection.
It may be that nurses and patients who inhabit common ground are beginning to cocreate a new and more shared perspective, thereby setting the stage for a new relationship. Nurse Charles recounted the following: The patient, having satisfied himself that Charles was safe and trustworthy, approached him with curiosity, and the relationship changed.
Nurse Joy gave an account of a relationship in which a shift occurred despite struggles to engage and ongoing conflict: There was a young fellow; he had a hard go of it.
The Importance of the Nurse-Patient Relationship for Patient Care || trannycams.info
So with patience I slowly got through to him. Both nurses and patients seemed to notice this relational shift. I am less tearful when I spill my guts and a bit more comfortable. I have control, so maybe I can talk to her. Before, what we talked about was always my suggestion, whereas once he started to feel a little bit better and we were able to link better to each other, I was able to ask him more. I remember a picture on his windowsill. Do you get to visit him often?
How do you feel after these visits? It looks like you have family gatherings—what is that like for you? Should they let their defenses down or should they put them back up?
Patient Marie described how she experienced this kind of vulnerability as being on a pathway to recovery: At one point, I observed a nurse and a patient operating within this space of shifting vulnerability.
A sad and angry patient expressed puzzlement at a question the nurse posed, and then his eyes filled with tears. In the ensuing conversation, the patient recounted specific aspects of his story that were clearly uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking and that had not previously been a focus of their conversation. At the end of the conversation, the nurse understood the patient in a different way; he had both articulated and argued for his vision of his future, and the nurse considered the experience to signify a change in their relationship.
Within each of the subthemes of frontline, common ground, and shift, patient-participant accounts highlighted changes in openness to engagement, willingness to share uncomfortable experiences, and visions of the future. Patient experiences with unknowing and defensiveness inhabited the subtheme of frontline. The importance of being viewed as a person and not an object inhabited the subtheme of common ground. The subtheme of shift highlighted the significance to the patient of a safe connection where his or her perspective could be fully articulated and given meaning.
In contrast, nurse-participant accounts across all themes highlighted the importance of being alert to changes in patient experience and committed to achieving shared understanding. The care face is the place where PMH nurses are directly engaged with patients for aims that are unique to nursing practice Barker et al. In this inquiry, the frontline was one example of the care face.
It was a place of active approach and exchange of perspectives, in which patients and nurses seemed to jostle for position, sometimes to seek advantage or exercise power and sometimes to open a window of opportunity or declare a temporary truce.
For their part, patients want nurses to recognize and anticipate their needs Barker et al. In frontline exchanges and while finding common ground, nurses worked actively to uncover feelings, helping patients to understand what was happening to them and using this understanding to frame their experiences. It may seem counterintuitive to uncover the notion of nurse as counselor in the theme of mindful approach when so many encounters were enacted in moments of acute distress.
Counseling is conventionally understood to take place over a longer time period and within the context of a formally contracted therapeutic relationship with specific goals. Furthermore, Peplau stated, Counseling in nursing has to do with helping the patient to remember and to understand fully what is happening to him in the present situation, so that the experience can be integrated with, rather than dissociated from, other experiences in life.
In accounts of mindful approach, nurses sought this kind of exploration. As I discussed this work with colleagues, a few suggested that the frontline subtheme too strongly evoked an image of battleground and war, but as I reviewed the accounts, I continued to see strong evidence of confrontation.
I have yet to uncover a more peaceful metaphor for the mindful approach, which after all is only one dimension of the PMH nurse—patient relationship: Strengths and Limitations The inquiry had both strengths and limitations.
The research design and data collection process support my claim that the study meets the criterion of dependability. I ensured that participants knew that I was not connected in any formal way with their clinical team or nursing supervisors.
I conducted interviews in a formal interview room and adhered to the interview guide, bringing the interview to a close if researcher boundaries were threatened. I reviewed initial accounts before secondary interviews, and I engaged in reflective writing.
After data collection was completed, I sought feedback from my peers by presenting some accounts to a national conference of PMH nurses and a seminar of graduate students.
There were a number of challenges in conducting this inquiry. Prior to study initiation, two of the units were changed from acute care to rehabilitation, thus reducing the pool of acute psychiatric inpatient nurses and patients.
On any given day, there were more patients on the study units who were certified as incapable of consenting than were certified as capable.
Sample size is typically small in studies of this nature, but in this inquiry, the sample size was both small and unevenly distributed: Although rich and meaningful texts emerged from conversations with both groups, many may consider that the nurse perspective at times overwhelmed the patient perspective.
Although I do not hold that the results of this study are transferable or generalizable in the postpositivist sense, and some may assess this as a study limitation, I attempted to make firsthand accounts the centerpiece of this work so that readers can understand both the context of the inquiry and how participants interpreted the phenomena.
Implications for Nursing Practice and Research In this inquiry, nurses and patients revealed that in a psychiatric inpatient setting, it is possible to create knowing and transformative relationships. Nurses approached patients with the intention of creating meaningful encounters even when they were uncertain of the potential for intimacy and long-term engagement.
Patients responded to nurses by meeting them at the frontline, seeking recognition, and working with nurses to find meaning in their experiences. Despite the fact that acute inpatient PMH nurses experience serious constraints on their ability to work relationally with patients, they continue to find ways to engage patients in therapeutic work.
This is the kind of evidence that acute inpatient PMH nurse leaders will need in order to make a strong case for program funding that supports nurse—patient engagement in acute inpatient settings and leads to more effective utilization of inpatient services. Acknowledgments The author gratefully acknowledges the guidance of Dr. Franco Carnevale, who supervised this research. Footnotes Declaration of Conflicting Interests: Relationships between patients and nurses in psychiatric wards.
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If a healthy nurse-patient relationship is established from the get-go, the nurses can help the patient feel more at ease in their situation and encourage questions and participate in their care.
Nurses must get buy-in from patients when it comes to their care. As any nurse will tell you, it's nearly impossible to work with a non-compliant patient. Little to no improvement is made.
Encouraging participation and educating patients is paramount. As stated earlier, establishing a healthy nurse-patient relationship is essential as the first step to open the lines of communication. Communication must be ongoing and involve patient education. For example, a non-compliant diabetic may believe that skipping meals helps to lower blood sugar. A nurse can take the opportunity to explain the importance of regular meals and snacks and explain what happens physiologically when meals are skipped in diabetic patients.
The patient may just not know. Education can lead to better compliance and patient engagement and therefore improved patient care outcomes.
In this example, improved blood sugar and A1C levels. Nurses are on the front lines of health care. They become experts at establishing relationships with patients and can do so without a second thought. A healthy nurse-patient relationship built on trust and respect goes a long way in improving a patient's overall health. RNs typically work in patient-facing roles carrying… Sexual Harassment in Nursing: