Most patients are a mixture of different personality characteristics and a lot changes for the worse when people are under stress.
There are many theories around effective communication in nursing, but most tend to focus on actions that lead to to the following results:
- To maximize patient comfort
- To complete the tasks done for the patient that need to be done
- To get the correct information from patients about how they’re feeling
As illustrated below, when nurses let patient behavior get in the way of doing their job, everyone loses out on what can be a very beneficial and productive relationship. This graphic serves as a snapshot to help nurses work with patients or families of patients who are less than willing to be cooperative.
The goal is to keep the nurse/patient relationship positive, knowing patients are under stress about their health that they may not be used to. However, the nurse as a professional is more used to this type of stress. Four temperaments nurses encounter in patients and their family members are: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. The later two are introverted types who generally are pessimistic, while sanguine and choleric types are extroverted and optimistic.
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Nurses need to be able to pick up on body language and other signals; they need to know the words a patient speaks are often secondary to how they’re truly feeling. You can learn this through any of a multitude of careers with a master of science of nursing.
While the “squeaky wheel” gets the attention, nurses also have to be aware of patients who don’t want to cause trouble or have a fuss made about them; this more humble personality is also common, and these patients are reticent about complaining or wanting to cause a bother.
With new patients, a quick assessment of their personality can result in effective communication from the start. Experience is the best teacher for enhancing nursing communication skills with patients, their families, as well as other staff members.