Communication is one of the vital tools that nurses use to reach out and connect to their patients. Depending on how nurses use it, it could either make or break the bridge which they are trying to build to establish rapport with their patients. Perhaps this is the reason why Psychiatric Nursing has provided nurses the fine line that separates therapeutic from non-therapeutic communication skills. However, that same line is sometimes obfuscated by several unknown and known factors. When that moment of confusion arrives, the nurse will have a hard time knowing when a supposed to be therapeutic communication technique becomes non-therapeutic for the patient. Here are some of the things that nurses should avoid saying to their patients:
Providing patients a period of silence in the middle of a conversation will allow them to organize their thoughts, absorb the health teachings you are providing, and think of more relevant information that they can give regarding their health status. However, keeping your mouth shut while providing care or doing nursing rounds will not just inhibit the growth of professional relationship between the two of you but will also give your patients a negative impression that you’re too mechanical to initiate even a simple friendly conversation with them. Use every opportunity to reach out to your patients, check their status, and answer any nursing-related inquiry that they have in mind. Patients didn’t come to the hospital with physiological issues alone; they also have emotional burdens that need to be addressed using friendly and welcoming demeanor.
2. Huwag po kayong mag-alala, hindi po ito masakit…..
Giving a false assurance to a patient is a big no-no. Aside from patient expectations not being met, it will also ruin the nurse-patient relationship that is supposed to be built from trust and honesty in the first place. Never tell a patient, especially a child, that a specific procedure won’t hurt at all when in reality, it’s one of the most painful hospital experiences one can ever get. Be honest and instead of fabricating little pieces of truth, try to tell the patient that although it will hurt a bit, you will do everything to do it faster and with as less pain as possible.
3. Naiintindihan ko po ang kalagayan ninyo..
Putting yourself on the patient’s shoes can help them to cope up but not all the time. Some patients will wonder why you have the courage to say that you understand their situation when in the first place, you actually don’t. Every individual has a unique experience for every life event and frustration tolerance is largely subjective. Don’t ever use stereotypical responses and assume that all people experience the same tragic event with the same intensity of emotions.
4. Sandali lang….Busy kami eh….
As a nurse, prioritization of cases based on severity and emergency is one of our top priorities. However, telling patients right in front of their faces that you don’t have enough time for them will develop a kind of insult and a false assumption that you only choose who you want to help. Though it’s true that we’re too busy most of the time, let’s try to set the patient’s expectations by stating how long they are supposed to wait for us and answer any inquiry that can be addressed easily without waiting for a longer time. Time is of the essence so make sure you do your job and duty for each and every patient.
5. Mamamatay na po kayo…
Death is a common outcome of people confined or rushed in the hospital but this phenomenon should never get in the way of patient’s gradual recovery both physically and emotionally. Disclosing the truth should be done at the right person, at the right place and at the right time. Honesty is the best policy but let us remember that there are some situations that being too honest can bring more harm than good.
These are just some of the things that nurses should avoid saying to their patients. I know there a lot of things that we can add to this list but what’s important is we should always remember that good communication is a product of an actively participating patient and a nurse with flawless judgment on what are the things to say and not to say say during a specific situation. Nursing is an art and so are the communication skills that we should have all the time especially if the patient is the one reaching out to us.