As a traveling nurse, it may seem difficult to connect with your patients on a deeper level due to the job’s nature. However, this process is an integral part of your profession and potentially attracted you to the field. Patient care is highly personable due to the nature of the work, but there are other steps you can take to aid in the creation of a lasting bond.
As you become more accustomed to traveling nursing’s nomadic life, you will surely pick up some best practices when it comes to connecting. Until you come up with your tricks, here are some that could help connect with your patients. These tips are mainly geared towards nurses assigned to home healthcare, but nurses assigned elsewhere can adapt these tips to apply to their settings, if needed.
- Be Truly Present – This tip is right for all relationships but is especially true in travel nursing. Because you’re always on the move, it may not be easy to settle into the routine of a typical day, causing you to seem elsewhere. As you begin to settle into your new role, it may be beneficial to stop for a second and become acutely aware of your surroundings, grounding you for a moment. This moment of awareness will allow you to be fully present with your patient, fostering the relationship’s bonds through continued presence.
By being present, you will appear open for conversation and ready to listen. This is an excellent way for patients to feel comfortable early on, making the transition smooth. By allowing yourself to be present, you lay the groundwork for future success. Communication flows freely in safe spaces, which can be crucial to have all the information needed to do your job effectively.
- Ask Deeper Questions – This may seem harsh to do when first starting, but asking meaningful questions is the best way to get to know someone. It also lets your patient/client know that you genuinely care about getting to know them, taking your relationship to a deeper level. This sense of friendship can have a massive positive impact, contributing to their overall well-being.
Also, please take note of the objects that your patient has in their room or home. These objects can give you clues on what kinds of questions to ask. A trinket, family photo, or piece of memorabilia can serve as a great conversation starter and can open the door to further conversations. Your patient has these objects for a reason – ask about them and determine why they value them!
- Engage in Meaningful Activities – This may be easier for traveling nurses assigned to home care. Still, there are ways to engage outside of your medical care that provide opportunities to foster positive relationships. After asking more in-depth questions, you will most likely know what your patient enjoys doing or how they like to pass their time. This knowledge presents an excellent opportunity to engage in those activities, providing mental stimulation as well. These actions can be as simple as taking a walk in the park, but these tiny actions have large positive impacts, especially on your patient/provider relationship. Outdoor or physical activities are also a great way to impact other areas of your client’s health, so be sure to take advantage when possible. Our role as a healthcare provider should be to provide a well-rounded healthcare experience; engaging in meaningful activities helps contribute.
Ultimately, the relationship is ended due to the change in assignments, but building positive relationships will leave a lasting impact on both you and your patients. Although it may be difficult to transition to the next job, you can leave knowing that you contributed positively to your patient’s life.
Are you having trouble developing personal relationships or struggling after a recent location change? It’s normal. There are various resources to help ease your transition, and in an ever-connected world, there are still ways to maintain healthy relationships.
As mentioned, you will become adept at connecting with your clients and patients on a meaningful level as you progress in your career. Travel nursing offers tremendous exposure to numerous clients, so it’s great for people who love helping multitudes of patients. Even in a hospital setting, bonds can be forged quickly, regardless of how short or long a patient’s stay is. These bonds aid in the healing process, providing a point of light in your patient’s life.