Communication between nurse and patient family is an integral part of a successful nursing career. Many patients, after being discharged from the hospital, need to be driven home. Family members may not know where they should take the patient if the nurse does not initially discuss this with them. A nurse should first educate the patient family about their discharge plan and their responsibilities for the patient. Once the family is aware of these things, the nurse can begin communicating with them in a patient and nurse-centered manner.
Communication with patient and family can become complicated when a nurse may be communicating from authority while the patient is under their care. In this case, the nurse may be communicating from the point of view of the patient’s family. The nurse may want the family to understand that the nurse is taking over this duty, but they also need to know that the nurse will be taking care of the patient’s needs. In this case, the nurse may choose to use phrases such as “You will receive your dose of medicine on the way home,” “You will need to rest here until your medication arrives at your home,” or “You may need to stay here for a little while.”
All of these phrases are variations on “You will need to rest here until your medication arrives at your home.” The variations allow the nurse to maintain some control during the discharge process. Still, the intent behind the phrases is to give the patient family some sense of relief while the nurse is dealing with their medical affairs. For example, a nurse may offer words of encouragement to the patient family when they realize that the nurse will be taking care of their loved one for some time.
In addition to giving the patient and family encouragement, the nurse may use phrases to reassure them about their health situation. One such phrase is “I am feeling fine.” This relieves any worry that the nurse may have about their condition and gives the family some reassurance that their loved one is taking good care. The words “I am feeling fine” may be coupled with some non-verbal communication (like writing or speaking quietly in the background) so that the patient is hearing the phrase and understands what it means.
Other common phrases used in this process is “I am sorry,” “I am OK,” and “I love you,” etc. The “I love you” phrase is a beautiful way for the nurse to show compassion without being intrusive. If the patient has recently lost a loved one, “I am sorry” can be an essential phrase that expresses sorrow and love and hope that things can get back to normal again.
These phrases are often interspersed with other statements intended to help the nurse communicate effectively with the patient family. For example, “You have made a great decision in selecting me to help you,” “I am so excited about this opportunity to help you,” “I am ready to help you any way I can” – all these statements are meant to put the nurse in a positive light and help to make them appear more helpful. The tone is always professional and calm. Never use these phrases as an attempt to make the patient feel better!
This practice needs to be avoided at all costs. A very effective way to do this is for the nurse first to discuss the expectations and boundaries established in the health care team with the patient family member. By talking to them, the nurse helps establish those boundaries and expectations.
In summary, it is essential to establish clear communication between nurse and patient family during health care visits. These communication lines should not be crossed because it will likely create resentment on both sides. If there are problems, they should be quickly brought to the attention of the nursing staff. In addition, make sure that all information is given to the patient before the nurse enters the room. This will help to prevent any miscommunication that could lead to legal action. Following these guidelines will ensure a healthy environment for everyone involved.