How Nurses Can Inspire Their Patients To Take Better Care Of Themselves

If you are a nurse—or you are planning on becoming one—there is a lot to learn. Not only will you need a good amount of medical knowledge, but you’ll need many other skills too; you have to understand people if you’re going to help them. One principle that lies at the core of all nursing is that unless you can take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others, and this is an important point to remember; you need to focus on your own wellbeing just as much as anyone else’s. 

When you do that, the results will be amazing. You might even be able to inspire a patient to take better care of themselves in the future, ensuring they don’t have to come back to hospital and they have a greater understanding of their health and health needs. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways that nurses can inspire their patients to look after themselves more; read on and see what you can put into practice in your nursing career. 

Detecting Patient Needs 

One fact that all nurses need to understand is that every patient, even if they have the same condition, will have different needs. This is part of the training that each nurse has, but it’s easy to forget when you’re in the middle of treating someone, especially when you’re in an emergency situation. 

What this actually means is that although some patients will already understand just what their condition is and what needs to be done about it (and ultimately what they need to do about it), others won’t have any idea at all. As a nurse, it’s your job to know the difference and to explain everything in the right way. You won’t want to give advice that they already know, as this can feel condescending. However, you will need to teach someone who doesn’t know, otherwise they will be left in the dark and they will have no chance of helping themselves when the time comes. 

For nurses, the best option is to work with patients to create a plan going forward. In this way, you can find out what they already know and work with that knowledge—or lack of it—to create a plan that works for them and that they will be able to stick to. 

Patients will usually need a good deal of support from their nurses, but if they have all the information they need, they will be able to make better personal choices and do what they need to do to keep healthy in the future. 

Use Integrated Patient Communication 

Communication is always going to be a crucial skill when you’re a nurse. This is one of the best ways to ensure your patients understand how to take better care of themselves and exactly what they need to do to achieve this. Although many people who are good communicators choose to become nurses because they have this and other useful skills that will help them progress in their careers, it is possible to learn to be a good communicator as well. 

When you are able to communicate well with patients, the practical element is obvious; you will also be able to give them health and wellness instructions to follow, and as much information about their condition as possible, as mentioned above. However, there are also other advantages. The main benefit of being able to communicate well with your patients is that you can build up trust with them. They will have a lot of goodwill towards you if they know you are giving them all the information you can and are helping them as much as possible. In this way, they will be more likely to follow your instructions; they know what you are telling them is for their own good and they will be happy to do as you tell them. Without this trust and bond forming, patients may not be quite so willing to do what they are told, either because they can’t quite bring themselves to believe in your authenticity and knowledge, or because they simply don’t want to follow instructions from someone they don’t like or trust. The more you can form a bond, the more you can inspire your patients to do what is right and good for their health. 

Communication is, of course, a two-way concept, and it’s crucial that you remember that. Patients are sure to have questions and you must be able to answer them and not brush their concerns aside. You might know there is nothing to be concerned about, but if the patient doesn’t know or isn’t sure, it’s your job to help them understand. Don’t get frustrated because you have to repeat yourself and don’t walk away with only partial information imparted; this will not help the patient and it certainly won’t inspire them to take better care of their health. 

Take Care Of Your Own Health 

As previously mentioned, if you don’t help yourself, you won’t be able to help anyone else, so it’s crucial that you take this to heart no matter what career you are in—but perhaps especially if you are a nurse. If a patient sees that you are exhausted, upset, bored, angry, frustrated, or anything else negative, they will immediately feel as though they are a burden, and they will find it hard to follow your lead. If you make them feel as though you don’t want to be doing your job because you’re not taking good care of yourself, why should they be inspired to do anything you ask them to? 

If, however, you can take care of yourself by ensuring you take breaks, eat your lunch, hydrate yourself, and, ultimately, are happy in your work, you will help your patients a lot more. They will feel happy to have you helping them, they won’t feel as though they are in the way, and they will be willing to follow your instructions because you clearly know what you are talking about in terms of health and wellbeing. 

Be Tenacious 

When you are a nurse, you’ll find that as well as being one of the most rewarding careers to get into, nursing is also one of the most challenging, and it’s vital that you’re aware of that before you begin your training. If not, you may not enjoy the job, and you may not be able to keep up with everything you need to do. As soon as your shift starts, you will be working, and although breaks are important, they will be quick ones for the most part, and then you are back to patient care. For many, this can feel overwhelming, which is why nursing is not a profession that everyone would be good at, and although nursing is open to everyone, it doesn’t mean everyone can be a nurse. 

However, if you can be tenacious and ensure you keep moving forward, doing all you need to do to get your tasks done on each shift, you will be able to help both yourself and your patients in the best way, no matter what challenges might lay ahead. By being as professional as possible at all times and pushing through when others might have to stop and wonder what they are doing, you can be sure to be there for your patients no matter what their needs might be. 

As a nurse, one point that you need to bear in mind is that you are a caregiver; this is your primary function. If you can do this, everything else will fall into place, so when you arrive for your shift, keep this idea at the forefront of your brain; you are there to care for patients and to help them in whatever way you can. You will be tenacious because you will rise above any challenges that come your way as long as it means your patients get the best care, and in this way you can inspire them to do more for themselves as well. After all, if a nurse who is tremendously busy is able to help them, they must be able to help themselves. This is the point you need to get across. 

Keep Learning

Just because you have finished your initial qualifications and are a registered nurse, that doesn’t mean your learning is over. In fact, if a nurse were to stop learning at this point, they would quickly fall behind in their knowledge, since new medical ideas and treatments are being developed all the time. It is in the patients’ best interests for nurses to continue their education, but, of course, it will help the nurse immensely, too. 

There are a variety of ways to go about gaining additional nursing knowledge, and no matter which path you choose, the patient is sure to benefit since you will have more knowledge and be more confident, inspiring them to do as you tell them when it comes to their overall health and their specific condition. For example, you could go back to school and obtain additional qualification that will help you move forward in your career. Using online schools, you don’t even have to take any time out of work to do this, and it will help to boost your career in many different ways. Perhaps you’ll choose an accelerated nursing program online to assist you in reaching your goals, or maybe you’ll want to branch into a specific area of nursing. No matter what, there will be a qualification for you. 

However, if you prefer not to have a formal qualification, it’s still important to keep learning. This could mean signing up to various sector newsletters, reading blogs and articles, attending conferences, or even networking with other medical professionals who will have all the answers you’re looking for. As a nurse, if you want to inspire your patients to take better care of themselves, you need to ensure you have all the knowledge required to help them in the right way. Continuing your education is the best way to make sure you have this knowledge and use it well. 

Patient Follow-Up

This point will depend somewhat on the kind of nurse you are—that is, what specialty of nursing you work in—because it isn’t always going to be possible to follow up on your patients. Working in a busy ER, for example, means that you may not be able to personally follow up on the patients you help. However, working in a different department might mean that you can, and if you can, you should. 

You can follow up with your patients via email or phone, for example. The more personalized you can make this follow-up, the better—the patient will know you are going above and beyond to help them, and they will want to ensure they do what they are asked to do because you have taken the time to personally help them. Of course, you may not be able to do this for all your patients, but for those whom you feel might particularly benefit, it’s worth trying at least, since it could make all the difference and help them to be inspired to take better care of themselves in the future. 

Conclusion 

Nurses are unique. There is no one else in the medical profession who can take care of people in quite the same way—on both a physical and emotional level. With this kind of care comes a great deal of responsibility, and it’s crucial that this is used to great effect when it comes to helping patients take care of themselves. 
Hospital or clinical care is often only the start of a patient’s healing and recovery process, and there will be additional steps they need to take—such as exercise, rest, eating the right food, attending follow up appointments, and more—if they want to recover quickly and fully. A nurse’s task is to ensure all of this happens, and this is not always easy. However, if you follow the above points you stand a much greater chance of being able to help anyone who needs you, even if they don’t know what kind of help they truly need.

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