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It isn’t unusual to discover that some nurses lack nursing bedside manners, but can this set of skills be taught or learned?

Nursing bedside manners are an essential trait to have, for a nurse. Your manner will help you to establish rapport with your patient and also help you deliver empathetic care. By developing your nursing bedside manner you can transform and improve your nurse-patient relationships.

Lets discuss what is often promoted by the NMC and RCN as ‘person centred care’ and ‘what makes a good nurse‘.


Nursing Bedside Manners


Be Observant and Always Ensure your Patient’s Privacy

Much has been said about communication and privacy within healthcare. As nurses we should be careful of the nuances of our patient’s language. Not all present themselves through words. Moreover, not everyone is happy to discuss their health within earshot of others. Watch out for the patient’s body language making sure that we appropriately match what our patients are telling us. We also need to be sensitive about patient privacy so we not only protect his or her dignity. Also that of the other patients in the surrounding area. Often a patient may seem very conscious and shy discussing his or her health problems. Then it may be best to close the patients cubicle curtain or take them to a private area to continue the conversation.

Be Focused and Attentive

Nurses and doctors are often under pressure and in a hurry to attend to and treat patients. However, in our desire to be there for everyone we sacrifice the kind of care we are able to give. It is important to note that mediocre care progressively decreases patient outcomes. Therefore, it is vital whenever attending to a patient that our main focus at that time should only be on him or her. That means avoiding multitasking and actively listening to what they are saying. Refrain from making assumptions that may dismiss an underlying problem hidden in a lengthy narrative of the patient’s symptoms.

Be Clear

As nurses, it is our duty to be able to present information to our patients clearly. Although we are not the only ones responsible for discussing their diagnosis, treatment options or prognosis, they do rely on us for clarification. As nurses we must know how to clarify things with patients in a language that they understand, enabling them to grasp everything that will and may happen. In addition, coherence not only within the healthcare team, but with the patient is one of the best ways to ensure the success of any treatment.

Be Sensitive and Reassuring

Most, if not all patients who come to hospital are very anxious. It is essential that we are able to empathise with them. Being able to understand where patients are coming from and being able to address their concerns will greatly ease the tension and facilitate the treatment process. This should never mean patronising or downplaying the patients concerns.  It is vital that you know which words to say and when to cut a discussion without sounding rude or offensive.

Is it time to brush up on your nursing bedside manners?

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