“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may not remember your name, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

A healthy nurse-patient relationship has proven to affect the health-related outcome of the patient. This positive therapeutic relationship encompasses showing empathy, building trust, advocating for the patient, providing knowledgeable feedback, and responding to patient needs. This type of professional relationship can enhance the patient’s satisfaction and the entire travel nursing experience.

The Importance of Establishing a Patient and Nurse Relationship

Working as a registered nurse can be an exceptionally rewarding career path. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have its downsides. In fact, nurses are both physically and emotionally pushed on a daily basis, which can be hard on an individual working in this field. For nurses in particular, it’s vital that they know how to establish healthy relationships with the patients they interact with day in and day out. Not only is it good for the patient, but it can also benefit the mental health of the registered nurse overseeing their care as well. For nurses, finding a balance between compassionate care and professionalism is key in order to connect with the individuals they are treating.

Here are a few ways you can build a strong nurse patient relationship as a healthcare professional:

  • Introduce yourself by shaking hands and telling the patient a little about yourself. Bonus points – ask the patient to tell you something interesting about themselves. This shows excellent interpersonal skills and a desire to know them as a person as well as a patient.
  • Practice effective communication by maintaining eye contact and repeating what the patient has told you. Perfecting your nurse-patient communication skills will not only improve your relationship with your patients, but it will also improve your patient experience overall. That way, they know you are indeed listening and understanding while still maintaining professional boundaries.
  • Enhance the quality of the patient’s experience. Ensure their basic needs are met and that they are comfortable. Try to help your patients avoid getting burnt out just as you hope to always avoid nurse burnout.
  • Present yourself often to check on the patient and be sure to smile. As a medical professional, your non-verbal communication skills are just as important as your verbal communication for patient care.
  • Stay in their hospital room a bit longer (if able) to interact with them and their loved ones. This will allow you to build rapport and create a personal relationship with the patient while connecting with them on a more emotional level. Show the patient how caring you are, and the trust they have in you will start to grow.

“Laughter is the best medicine in the world.”

Milton Berle

Another way to build a strong nurse-patient relationship is to make the patient laugh. Laughter is a positive interaction that can play a role in bringing light to a bad situation. They may have some concerns about their medical bills, the COVID 19 pandemic, their mental health might be at risk due to stress, or they could still be in pain after a treatment. We are all human beings, and a small joke can go a long way in positively impacting the patient experience. As a healthcare worker, you can still be caring and comforting while also maintaining a professional relationship with a new or former patient.

The typical day of a travel nurse shows them wearing many different hats. They are more than just healthcare professionals; they are also teachers and educators, counselors, friends, therapists, and confidants. Words cannot simply define the significance of quality care from a positive nurse-patient relationship.  It’s in these moments, that a travel nurse who is an expert in compassionate care and patient satisfaction can make incredible strides towards healthy patient outcomes and positive experiences. Travel nursing assignments are typically 13 weeks long. That means you may only have 91 days to make an impact on your patients’ lives, make them count.