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Tips to Cultivating Bedside Manner in a Two-Year Nursing Program

nurse in elderly care for the elderly in nursing homes

People who are drawn to the medical profession typically have a natural sense of compassion and the desire to be helpful.

But a good bedside manner requires more than just natural ability. It requires applying skills learned, like the more practical skills of a two-year nursing program at Concorde Career Colleges. A positive bedside manner becomes a skill you can lean on automatically when times are difficult.

An effective healthcare professional needs a good bedside manner to put patients at ease and provide them with the best care. When a patient feels trust with a medical provider, they are more likely to be honest and open about their medical condition, making a diagnosis and care more successful.

Simply put, there are nine basic elements that must be maintained for productive patient rapport:

  • Focus
  • Listening
  • Observation
  • Detail
  • Agreement
  • Non-judgement
  • Validation
  • Empathy
  • Respect

These skills are like building blocks for cultivating good bedside manner. If one is missing, the entire structure weakens.

Focus, Listen and Observe

Approach each patient with body language that says, "I'm here for you."

You can start practicing this during your two-year nursing program in clinical rotations. Put away any notes, devices or other distractions, including any looming personal problems. Only when you are focused, can you really listen to what the patient is telling you?

Intent listening may provide clues to a situation the patient themselves may not even be aware of. Sometimes the most important details are found in a patient's demeanor, not words. Carefully observe a patient's tone and behavior to get a fuller picture.

Be Detailed

From the first patient of the shift to the last, from the most compliant to the most difficult, every patient deserves a detailed approach to care. Most patients can sense when their care is being rushed. Being made to feel like they are just a number on a chart does not lead to good patient-provider communication. No matter how rushed you may actually be, good bedside manner requires a patient, detailed approach.

Agreement, Non-Judgement, Validation

Agreement, non-judgment, and validation are a naturally complementary trio. Even if the patient is armed with dozens of pages of unrelated information printed off the Internet, it's important to validate their concerns. It's also important to reserve judgment - whether, on a patient's opinions, appearance or behavior - until all the information is revealed.

Empathy and Respect

To empathize is to have compassion for another person's situation. Remember, patients are not at their best when you see them. They may be in pain or fearful or they may have just survived a traumatic experience. Treating patients with respect, which includes compliance with all applicable HIPAA laws, builds trust, which ultimately makes the job of patient care easier and more effective.

Working on these 9 skills during your two-year nursing program, will not only help you have better bedside manners, but it will also help you be a better Nurse, co-worker, and person to those around you.

At Concorde, we are committed to preparing students for successful employment in rewarding health care professions through high-caliber training, real-world experience, and student-centered support. If you're looking for a two-year nursing program, Concorde can help.