Staying healthy is something we all strive to do but sometimes life has other plans! This can see people needing to be admitted to a hospital or undergo a medical intervention in order to keep them in top shape. This is not always easy for people to deal with emotionally, though, and can bring significant challenges to their state of mind.
Due to this, nurses play a central role in giving much-needed emotional support to patients who have been hospitalized or undergone some kind of medical intervention. If you plan to work in this sector, it is important that you are prepared to assist those you look after in this way.
Anyone moving into nursing also needs to understand that having the right qualifications is key. This is especially true for those planning a career in nursing who currently work in other industries. By following courses, like the ASBN at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine, professionals with a bachelor’s degree in another subject can pick up the skills they need to work in nursing.
One thing most programs like this touch on is how crucial it is to give patients emotional help when required. But just how do nurses go about this?
Showing compassion and empathy
Anyone who moves into nursing should possess high levels of compassion and empathy to not only offer excellent care but give patients the emotional support they require. But why are these qualities so crucial?
Being able to display compassion will demonstrate to patients that you really care about them and have their best interests at heart. This should put them in a more positive frame of mind and be grateful that someone is looking out for them. Being compassionate also means you deal with patients in a caring way when administering treatment. This will help them stay in a better frame of mind during their treatment/intervention.
Being able to show empathy is important as it shows patients you understand their feelings, views or concerns. This can really help someone feel better emotionally, as they realize there is someone who listens to them and values their opinion.
Giving patients space to talk
Many people who come to the hospital or experience medical interventions may be nervous about their condition or possible treatments and need to talk about it with someone. By giving patients the space to express their fears and listening without judgment, nurses can allow them to get it all off their chest. In turn, this can leave them feeling like they’re in a much better place afterward mentally and feel emotionally supported.
Giving patients space to talk openly can also be useful in terms of allaying any fears they have. If someone is worried about having surgery, for example, they may feel less anxious if you explain the low risk involved with their procedure or how experienced the surgeon is. In many cases, patients may even realize there is nothing to worry about, just from you giving them time to talk.
Talking to patients during procedures or interventions
Nurses taking the lead in talking to patients is another good example of how they can provide emotional support to those they care for. Although this might sound the same as the above point, it is subtly different.
Many patients may be nervous about coming in for a blood test at their local clinic, for example, and show up in a distressed mental state. Nurses can help support them emotionally in this instance by engaging them in light conversation as they perform the procedure to help take their mind off what is happening. This helps calm the patient down and gives them something else to focus on. The key thing to note here is that the patient might not engage in conversation if they feel very worried – so it is sometimes up to the nursing professional to take the lead.
As you can imagine, similar scenarios can play out when people are hospitalized and need things like IV drips to be inserted. By taking the lead in engaging in light, cheerful conversation as this happens, nurses can help put patients into a more-positive emotional space.
Helping patients get used to life in the hospital or when interventions bring changes
While much of the emotional support offered by nurses focuses on worries around treatment or conditions, it can often be about adjusting to things. Getting used to life in a hospital is a great example and something many can struggle with.
The unfamiliar environment, unusual in-patient beds and absence of loved ones from daily routines can soon bring feelings of loneliness or anxiety. Nurses can support patients in this instance by helping them adjust to hospital life and taking time to interact with them.
For the same reason, nurses can help people who have experienced life-changing medical interventions to cope emotionally. Someone who has recently been diagnosed with severe diabetes, for example, may worry about having to inject themselves with insulin each day. Nurses can help them get used to this change on an emotional level by explaining how it need not have a negative impact on their life or giving them literature which details how to cope with it mentally. This can help patients adjust emotionally to the change that such interventions can bring.
Emotional support from nurses for families
In addition to how nurses offer emotional support to patients, these professionals also do the same for their family members.
When someone is admitted to the hospital or undergoes a medical intervention, it is naturally very worrying for the family. This can see them feeling emotionally down and stressed about the whole situation. Nurses can have a beneficial effect here by communicating effectively with the patient’s family and explaining exactly what is happening.
By showing compassion and empathy as they do this, they are able to help the family involved feel better. In addition, nurses can also signpost family members to external services/professionals who might be able to deal with any emotional issues they are experiencing. This is also something they are able to do for patients who are in a poor mental state and need external help.
Nurses play a key role in emotional support
The very nature of nursing means that people in this role deliver direct care to patients. As a result, nurses are in a prime position to not only provide top-class physical care but also emotional support for patients, too. In addition, they also possess the skills needed to offer families excellent support emotionally to feel better.