How To Have Civil Conversations With Difficult Subjects
Nurses talk with a lot of people at work. The conversations that nurses have with their patients can be difficult for nurses to maintain civility. Whether it is politics, life, and death, or a type of treatment, nurses need to have the professionalism to maintain a respectful and professional relationship with their patients. Here are three ways nurses can have civil conversations with difficult subjects.
#1. Have appropriate body language.
Having to work with a patient who is uncivil will make it easy for you to become frustrated and be uncivil right back. A patient who is very political and has views that differ from yours can be frustrating to deal with. While it is easy to just avoid conversations completely with patients who have different opinions than yours, getting to know your patient will help build a rapport that will eventually help you care for the patient.
Regardless of what the topic is, your body language will help show your interest in the situation. If you have a caring attitude and can show that you care about your patient's interests, you will be able to help them cope while under your care.
#2. Seek first to understand before being understood.
Taking from Steven Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people, this concept of seeking to understand before being understood is crucial for nurses. When you are assessing your patient, you need to take in both objective and subjective findings. Your care that you give your patient will have more depth and meaning when you truly understand them. Ask good questions, then listen. Listen to what the patient really wants, and when you feel that they have talked as much as they need for you to understand them, then it is your turn to use your nursing knowledge and help your patient understand what your concerns are.
In situations where you are uncomfortable, it will help you to take a step back, and give your patient time to think of what they want to say. When you ask good questions that will promote good conversations, it will be easier for your patients to express their true needs.
#3. Be kind.
Being kind is a concept that should be simple for nurses to understand. When you have patient's that are difficult, testing your patience, and getting on your last nerve, they still deserve respect. Being civil during difficult conversations can be hard, but the respect that all people should have regardless of their current situation is something all nurses should focus on during difficult conversations.
Remember that you do not completely know your patients, and even though they might have different views, or they are being difficult to work with, you also owe it to yourself to be kind to your patients. You will have less difficult talks with your employers if you can learn to be kind to your patients. Your boss will know that you are a nurse who can handle difficult patients, and will recommend you for higher assignments.
#1. Have good body language.
#2. Understand before being understood.
#3. Be kind.