I began my first blog entry for HealthStream with the theme of communication. My second entry spoke on the topic of safety. At the risk of sounding repetitious, keeping a patient safe heavily relies on open communication. In order to assure family members of patients that their family member is safe and well cared for, communication is a necessity. Here are four best practices:
Something as simple as introducing yourself and clearly displaying your ID badge can be easily overlooked, but it begins the process of assurance for patient family members. Patients and family members meet a lot of healthcare workers during the patient’s stay, and it can become difficult for them to distinguish the nurse from a respiratory therapist, physical therapist, or doctor. Explaining who you are and showing that you are the nurse caring for their family member can provide an immediate sense of safety.
Educating patients and family members on methods to contact the nurse, such as the use of the call light or telephone, also provide a sense of safety because it assures family that you are accessible to the patient, even if you are not visible at all times.
Setting Expectations About Schedule and Plan of Care
Involving the patient and family members in the plan of care and setting a schedule for the shift allows the patient and family to understand what is to be expected and lets them know that you are constantly planning, assessing, and monitoring their care.
In addition, explaining what you are doing for the patient and the reasoning behind it is essential for patient safety. Nursing is a profession based on knowledge; we use research findings to determine our patient care and should openly share that with patients and family members. Patients and their family will feel safe and well cared for when they know their nurse is applying knowledge and research to determine their care plan.
Establishing open communication with patients and family members may seem like a simple action, but to someone who is overwhelmed, frightened, and anxious, it is crucial to their safety.
About the Author
Nicole Kraut currently works as a RN on a medical-oncology unit in Chicago, Illinois. She serves as the night shift Team Leader for the unit, in which she serves as the charge nurse and participates in leadership activities. She has been a RN for over five years. Nicole shares, “I have had the opportunity to be a new hire preceptor and have worked with fourteen new hire staff RNs. Along with being a preceptor, I have been a facilitator for our New Graduate Mentor Program, which allows new graduate nurses a place to meet once a month to learn from each other and to share their experiences.”
Nicole graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago and recently obtained a Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University. She “was inspired to become a nurse because I wanted to work in a career field in which I could make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I feel nursing is my vocation and am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience in order to positively influence others.”
Download HealthStream’s new eBook: The Urgent Priority to Keep Each Patient Safe.
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