Hospital stays can be stressful and challenging for both patients and their families. Fear, discomfort, and worry can affect the recovery of the patient and can lead to symptoms such as pain. Healthy mental and emotional states can enhance patient outcomes, and nursing professionals are in a position to aid patients with emotional challenges.
Nursing professionals are a trusted part of health care delivery. They hold the journey of a patient’s health care together. These practitioners work tirelessly across the patient experience to identify and protect their needs. Nursing is more than just monitoring patients, giving medication, and reporting their health condition to the doctor.
Nurse practitioners care for their patients in different ways. As a nurse, you spend plenty of one-on-one time with your patients and get to know them better than other healthcare professionals, such as doctors. From answering queries of patients and their families to helping them understand the patient’s condition and alleviating the accompanying fear, nurses are responsible for many elements in health care delivery.
Here are some ways you can offer emotional care to your patients.
1- Advance Your Nursing Knowledge and Experience
Whether physical or emotional, the first step to providing support to a patient is getting yourself prepared. Wondering how? Nurses must equip themselves with the essential education and skills to deliver quality care. The higher qualified and experienced you are, the more you possess skills to perform your tasks. Studies suggest that nurse practitioners who pursue higher education are relatively proficient at making disease diagnoses, have strong leadership and communication skills, and are competent at delivering care.
Are you a Registered Nurse (RN) with a BSN degree? Want to level up your education? You can find many universities offering on-campus and online degree programs, including La Salle University nursing programs, to advance your education and develop essential skills to be proficient in your profession. The online degree program option is suitable for nurses who want to work and study simultaneously and have flexible schedules.
2- Help Your Patient Adapt to Hospital Environment
Most people visit the hospital because either they are sick or want to see someone ill. The thought of visiting the hospital alone can result in a feeling of fear.
When an individual is hospitalized, they might not feel comfortable as it is not similar to living in their own comfy home. They take time to adjust to the life of the hospital. Anything can bother the patient, from the noises and smell to the food the hospital offers. However, nurses can help patients feel comfortable. Here is what you can do:
- Adjust the room temperature as per the individual’s preference
- Dim the lights or provide the patient with remote control
- Offer various food options
- Add aromatic oils to a diffuser
- Have soft music playing if the patient prefers
Although a hospital has a professional and rigorous atmosphere, these little additions or alterations can help the patient feel more comfortable and less stressed, fostering recovery.
3- Help Them Cope with The Trauma or Illness
Whether the patient is diagnosed with a chronic illness or has undergone an accident, the emotions are often more powerful than the pain. Research suggests that psychological discomfort can impede patient recovery. Therefore, an individual must be emotionally healthy to boost recovery and improve health outcomes.
As a nurse, you can help the patient feel relaxed and deal with the disease. Try to make them understand that their symptoms may be normal. Help them identify ways to unwind. Ensure resolving day-to-day problems so they don’t build up and add to their worries. Encourage your patient to talk about their feelings, thoughts, and experiences with support networks, such as family members and friends.
4- Communicate with Your Patient
Nurse professionals learn about patients’ concerns, health issues, and needs through proper communication, which includes active listening. It is among the best ways to help your client with emotional support. Good communication between a nurse and a patient is the groundwork of patient care, treatment, and monitoring.
When you start talking to your patient, you can interpret their thoughts and feelings about an injury or disease. Begin a conversation with your patient, listen to them carefully, and determine the challenges they might be experiencing. Find ways to distract them from their problems, such as sharing a joke.
5- Educate your Patient About the Treatment Process
When it comes to hospitalization and patients undergoing treatment, certain things need to be followed, such as medication, diet, or other preparations. Whatever the type of treatment, nurse practitioners are the ones supposed to educate patients about the treatment procedure and how to prepare for it. As a nursing professional, you do not only have to prepare them physically but mentally.
Ensure answering questions from your patients regarding the treatment and its preparation, such as the potential side effects of medication or what type of anesthesia they will get. Explain everything compassionately. Besides, try cheering up your patient if they are afraid of the procedure.
6- Provide Support to the Patient’s Family
People close to the patient like family members will regularly visit to get updated on the patient’s health condition, treatment plans, and recovery. They might have mixed emotions, like a feeling of hope and a feeling of fear. It can take a toll on their mental health. The family may also need support to deal with these emotions and reduce their risk of complicated conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression.
There are a few ways nurses can help family members; talk to them and give them a bit of your time to speak their worries out. Encourage them to keep a check on their own physical and mental health. Acknowledge their patient care but remind them that looking after themselves is also important. Suggest to them the ways to relax and emphasize its importance. Moreover, you can help them get aware of the professional assistance they could get to cope with emotional challenges, such as counseling.
7- Check Up on Their Mental Health
The illness, continuous medication, and the hospital environment can all add to stress and impact a patient’s mental well-being. The longer the hospital stay, the more the risk of developing mental health issues. Your patient might get sick of injections, medicines, daily check-ups, and the same environment. Because the patients encounter nurse practitioners the most, they often look to nurses for help.
Nurses should be able to recognize any changes in patients’ behavior and mental well-being. However, if the problem persists or intensifies, immediately report it to the doctor.
Disease, injury, chronic condition, or trauma can all add to patient distress while hospitalized. Patients may feel afraid and hopeless, which can affect their mental well-being and may even lead to conditions like anxiety and depression. In these times of stress, nurses are the only healthcare professionals who can provide emotional support to patients to improve their recovery process. In addition to other obvious nursing responsibilities, nurses must offer emotional care and help patients cope with emotional challenges to foster positive health outcomes.