Whenever you hear about hospital stays, you probably think about the worry and stress associated with it. Patients are affected by their disease diagnosis and ongoing treatment processes. Fear and discomfort can take a toll on both patients and their families. In such stressful situations, emotional support by nurses can be effective in relieving psychosocial and physical distress.
Nurses are an important part of healthcare, especially when talking about care delivery. Nursing requires more than just being the individual who keeps health records, gives medicine to the patient, and reports health conditions to the doctor. Nurse professionals care for their clients in various ways. Since they spend a lot of their time with patients, nurses get to know them differently. They empathize with patients who are under trauma, calm down patients who are afraid and give hope to their families.
Nurses are ideal persons to assess the emotional needs of suffering patients. You may wonder, though, why can’t a family member do that? Because when a person is hospitalized, a nurse is the only person who is closest to a patient.
While physical improvements and monitoring patient information is an evident part of nursing, patients’ mental and emotional well-being is likewise essential for nurses. If you are a practicing nurse, here are some ways you can provide emotional support to your clients.
1- Expand Your Nursing Experience and Knowledge
When you are more qualified and experienced, you are more proficient at doing your job. Studies show that nurses who pursue an RN to BSN Degree are relatively competent at making illness diagnoses, have excellent communication and leadership skills, and are better at taking care of their patients.
Advancing your career through education means more skills and knowledge. This, in turn, helps you provide the proper physical care and emotional support that the patients need in times of stress.
2- Help your Patients Deal With the Disease/Trauma
There could be various reasons why a person is hospitalized, such as a disease, accident, or post-surgery rehabilitation. No matter the cause, emotions are more than just pain.
Studies suggest that psychosocial distress can have a huge impact on the patient’s recovery, leading to physical symptoms. So a patient must be mentally and emotionally healthy to promote the recovery process and improve outcomes.
The fear, the confusion, the uncertainty and anxiety – all of these feelings may leave patients uncomfortable during hospitalization. Nurses need to help their patients reduce stress and make them feel relaxed. They are in an exceptional position to help suffering ones feel safe and motivated with self-managing their recovery.
3- Prepare Them for the Treatment
While the patient is hospitalized and will have to undergo treatment, certain things need to be strictly followed, such as diet or medications. Every treatment requires its preparations. Whatever the treatment, nurses are supposed to tell patients about the treatment procedure and prepare them mentally and physically for it.
Nurses must answer the queries of their patients regarding the treatment preparation, like the type of anesthesia they are going to get or the possible side effects of medication. You must explain everything to your patient compassionately. Moreover, if the patient is scared of the procedure, do something to cheer them up.
4- Help Them Adjust To Hospital Environment
Patients take time adjusting to the hospital life, and it is normal since it is not the same as living in their comfy house. From the smell and noises of the hospital to the food, anything can bother patients. However, by making the patient’s room a comfortable area, nurses can help them to adapt to the hospital environment quickly. In this way, the overall patient experience improves, including their satisfaction and emotional well-being.
5- Talk to Your Patients
One of the best ways to help your patient with emotional support is communication. Observation is the key – a good nurse can interpret when a client wants to talk about their feelings and thoughts about a disease or an injury. Start a conversation, listen to your patient with concentration, and identify the challenges your patient is experiencing. Distract them from their worries with good humor or bright conversation.
6- Keep a Check on their Mental Wellbeing
The trauma, the medication, and the environment can add up to distress and affect a patient’s mental health. The longer the hospital stay, the longer the effects. Patients start to get fed up with the injections, daily health checkups, medicines and all. Since nurses are the ones that patients encounter the most, it is quite normal that the patients look to nurses for aid.
Nurse professionals should be able to manage any changes in a patient’s mental health, such as a sudden surge of emotions. However, if the condition seems troublesome, reporting it to the doctor is better.
7- Emotional Support for Patient’s Family
Family members will visit the patient on a regular basis to know about the health condition, treatment options, and recovery process. As a nurse, developing good relationships with patients’ families and giving them hope can help you and their families work together for the patient’s recovery.
Injury, illness, trauma, or a chronic condition diagnosis can add to patient discomfort during their hospital stay. A patient may experience despair, depression, and anxiety. Nurses are the healthcare providers who spend most of their time taking care of patients. Apart from data monitoring, giving medications, and other obvious nurse duties, it is important for nurses to provide emotional care to the patient. Emotional support may involve helping your patient cope with the trauma, prepare for the treatment, and adapt to hospital life. In a nutshell, be compassionate and treat every patient as a unique individual.