Importance of Nurse Patient Relationship

1 January 2017

Watson defined therapeutic nurse-patient relationship as “a helping relationship that’s based on mutual trust and respect, the nurturing of faith and hope, being sensitive to self and others, and assisting with the gratification of your patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through your knowledge and skill” ( as quoted in Pullen, 2010, p. 4). Nurse’s are expected to portray and act professionally, legally and ethically in order to established an effective nurse-client relationship.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA, 2012) is a regulating body for nurses and midwives specifically in Australia had set and approved codes and guidelines to follow and source of basis to guide nurses in their professional practice. The significance of an effective nurse patients relationships are critical to maintenance, promotion and recovery of patients in every aspect of life. It is central to meeting the patients care needs and therefore communication between the nurse and patients is the foundation on which this relationship is built ( McCabe, Timmins, & Camplings, 2007).

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The techniques to established a warm and mutual nurse-client relationship are vital to understand and needless to say important in practice in order to come up with healthy and quality outcome for the patient as well as the nurse. The barriers or hindrances that we may encountered in maintaining a positive and favorable relationships between nurse and client is experienced in our everyday situation as we interact with the patient in various settings. As a professional nurse we must determine this barriers to promote a comprehensive, holistic and healthy relationship to our patient.

Significance and advantages of maintaining a professional boundaries and following the guidelines and codes of ethics in creating an effective nurse client relationship is critical in any practice setting. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal College of Nursing, Australia and Australian Nursing Federation ( 2002 ) set forth professional guidelines for nurses which serve as a foundation and path for any legal and moral issues involving nurses as well as midwives. One advantage of establishing effective nurse-patient relationship is nurse can establish therapeutic partnership with the patient.

It entails a collaboration between nurse and patient with mutual trust and respect, and it can enhance patient’ ability to cope with problems (Day & Levett-Jones 2008, p. 497). Barry (1996. p. 18) stressed “the one of the most beneficial aspects of a good therapeutic relationship is the emotional support given to the patient. Establishing therapeutic relationship could help the patients emotionally and then enable them to cope with their problems by themselves. Effective nurse-patient relationship also encourages to influence patient and to obtain relevant data.

Nurse as a change agent, influence client to be a better manager of their own health. Like emphasizing the benefits of doing regular exercise at least thrice a week and sleeping at least eight hours of sleep a day and taking eight glasses of water a day. On the other hand, obtaining information from them is significant in their treatment plan since this serves as a basis of what available intervention is appropriate to them to properly managed their health (Day & Levett-Jones 2008, p. 483).

Involving patient to his care plan promotes a healthy relationship since patient are felt that they are valued, thus it builds trust between nurse and patient. For instance in a patients chart there are nursing care plan and patients are involved in any informal decisions whether it may be a diagnostic test or a major procedure (Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2006, p 8). The patient has a right to informed consent and decision making when it comes to his or her own health condition. This where comes the role of the nurse as an advocate, standing and doing something on behalf of the patient.

Through building trust, promotion of health develops and therefore improves patients outcomes. Interestingly, not only do successful encounters improve patient outcomes they have also been shown to improve professional satisfaction. These skills lead to professional respect among the nurse and healthcare system. Benefits for an effective nursing care are positive outcome of care. Promoting an environment of nurse-patient collaboration serves also as a gateway to facilitate cooperation and more appreciation of the patients condition (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, 2006).

Constructing an effective nurse-patient relationship are integral to the success of patient health condition. There are various ways and technique on how we can convey and form an effective nurse-patient relationship. Establishing rapport and developing trust and respect is the initial part of good relationship. For instance, in your first meeting introduce yourself in a warm and polite manner. Calling your patient by her name is much comfortable than calling them in their last name. Smiling after introducing your name and giving handshake are also another way of conveying positive regard ( College of Nurses of Ontario, 2006).

Good communication are another strategies to promote better understanding of the patients condition. Communication entails dynamic interaction between nurse and a patient. It comprises verbal and non-verbal cues that may contribute to the feelings, values and concerns of patient. In conversing with patient the nurse must be an active listener since it’s a vital element as a good communicator and should provide an adequate feedback (Pearson, Porritt, Doran, Vincent, Craig, Tucker, & Long, 2006).

A good example is assessing a newly admitted patient in the unit and the there’s a turnover of shift ongoing but the nurse need to interview first the new patient before she can endorse the patient to the next shift nurse. If the nurse on duty is on hurry and thinking of going home she cannot assesses the patients important details and may missed significant data regarding patient’s history. Therefore active listening is the channel to be an effective communicator and its one way of conveying your understanding of the patient’s health condition (Miller, E. and Webb, L. 2011 p. 94).

Empathy is another strategy in dealing with effective professional nurse is to patient relationship. Empathy is about putting yourself in the situation of patient without being involved emotionally. Its about understanding the patient’s situation, perspective and feelings. It differs from sympathy. Sympathy is about pity and compassion and means emotional involvement ( The British Journal of General Practice, 2002). Through practice of empathy, nurses understand the patient emotion and feelings but the nurses are not emotionally involved with the patient (Rana & Upton, 2009, p. 2). Nurse must be confident and competent in his or her chosen field of career. This is way nurse can maintain an effective and therapeutic care as well as therapeutic relationship to his or her patient. Evaluating ones own nurse performance, attending up to date training and seminars and being active in joining nursing related organizations that can provide necessary information are some of ways to enhance knowledge of nursing ( Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2006). n building an effective nurse patient relationship can greatly compromise both the patient and the quality of care provided therefore we need to identify these hindrances (Schyve, 2007). Mainly we communicate to the patient and through our language. One of the most common barrier of establishing a nurse client relationship is language and cultural differences. If the nurse and patient has a different language they are unable to express their message and can hardly converse in a manner that is understandable to their level of understanding (Pillai, 2011).

According to Feinberg, Swartz, Zaslavsky, Gardner, & Walker (2002) patients with limited English proficiency affects the quality of healthcare they received since they are unable to express things that are necessary for their treatment. In a clinical settings if you have a Cantonese speaking patient and a nurse is an American you need to get an interpreter in order for both of them can send and received message properly that is vital in the course of treatment. Basically culture is all about the way people value and believe things which reflect in their way of living.

It’s a diverse and unique in every culture and this may be also reflected on how they handle things when they are ill. According to Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (2002) nurse must have a wide understanding of culture to determine appropriate intervention to provide for the patient. Nurse should have a real understanding of different culture in order for her to provide non-judgmental and efficient function as a nurse. Another barriers in establishing effective relationship is low health literacy.

Health literacy is understanding important facts and information which are basically deals with health aspects. Like for instance, knowing your own body mass index, controlling weight and keeping yourself fit and active to prevent any disease. An individual with a decreased level of health understanding may compromise his or her own health. This may contribute to higher incidence of death and hospitalization (Keleher, 2007). Probably low health literacy can due to the fact that there is jargon filled language and poor communication technique between provider of care.

Nurse is to patient ratio is another contributing factor in decreasing effective nurse- patient relationship. We can see a better healthcare outcome if we can manage to lower our nurse patient ratio as much as possible to enable to only focus and provide quality result in our designated patient. The higher the nurse is to patient ratio the higher the rate of poor healthcare management and vice versa (Clark, 2010). Imagine if nurse is assigned to eight patient which are post-operative and half of them have catheter and patient-controlled analgesia.

This high risk patient and should have accurate vital signs monitoring. In conclusion nurse-patient relationship are collaborative technique and requires empathy, trust and respect as a vital component. In a interdisciplinary team nurse- client relationship is comprehensive and vital in establishing a safe, warm and non-judgmental environment. The nurse in any practice setting must observe professionalism at all times when dealing with patient because they must convey a unique relationship bounded by ethico-moral and professional conducts and guidelines.

Communication are also relevant in nurturing a positive relationship. Nurse must be sensitive physically, emotionally, morally and spiritually to detect any problems that patient may experienced and should took necessary action to facilitate a better relationship. Nurse being a professional must uphold a trustworthy image and maintain and promote beneficial relationship to his or her patient whatever the circumstances he or she experienced.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal College of Nursing, Australia and Australian Nursing Federation are some authoritative bodies and agencies which upholds the guidelines in maintaining nursing professional practice. This agencies are the ones we sought and approached whenever we observed some discrepancies and anomalies in building an effective nurse-patient relationship. Strategies in promoting and implementing a mutual and beneficial relationship must be followed by heart and take seriously to be efficient in achieving a smooth and healthy nurse-patient relationship.

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