It doesn’t matter in which position you’re in within the healthcare sector; at some point, you’re going to have to deal with slightly difficult patients. You might run into reactions like defensiveness, anger, fear, and many other things. Unfortunately, that’s the only negative aspect of working in the medical field. Patients in your care might be difficult because they’re angry with the diagnosis, scared about their family’s reaction, or frustrated with their care.
However, it isn’t the most critical aspect to figure out why they’re acting out this way. Instead, it’s how you deal with them during this time because they can create unpleasant situations, negatively impacting the overall atmosphere. Hence, as a nurse, you must respond appropriately to patients who aren’t easy to deal with. Instead of losing control, you must try to keep yourself calm and find a solution.
So, what is the best way to tackle difficult patients? Here are some useful tips mentioned to help you deal with difficult patients.
Connect with the patient
Taking out time to connect with patients is an amazing way to show you care about them, and it’s not just another item on your to-do list. As a nurse, you need to connect and get to know the patient, giving you the chance to understand why they’re angry or upset. Consider talking to their family and getting to know them through their eyes. Show interest in asking about their hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Seeing a patient as an individual can help you tolerate their behavior more easily. Besides that, you can pursue programs and degrees like BSN to FNP to become well-skilled in handling your patient’s emotions and understand them better. Pursuing such degrees can help you become a better nurse practitioner, making it simpler to deal with difficult patients.
Listen to them
The angrier patients become, the more likely they will talk about every problem they have had with your service. As a nurse, your job is to find out why they’re upset, which can be quite challenging sometimes. The best way to deal with such patients is by listening to them and showing you care. Listening to patients conveys respect and builds trust. The patient’s shared knowledge is the only way you can create an original care plan for them. Not just that, listening to them allows you to find the cause of the problem and solve it immediately.
To ensure you’re listening to your patients actively:
- Give your patients your undivided attention
- be more conscious and aware of how you’re communicating
- make sure you acknowledge the message
- Be more present in the conversation
Empathize with the patient
The easiest way to deal with any difficult patient or situation is through empathy. Being empathetic allows you to build trust with patients in your care by focusing on their points of view. It strengthens communication as you understand how your patients are coping. You get an insight into what they’re expecting from you and their treatment.
Therefore, to empathize with your patients more, start by realizing how they feel and acknowledging their anger and fears. As a nurse, support them by reacting to their medical and emotional needs. In addition, make sure you ask a question so you can understand more than just their presenting issue. Consider asking them about how their symptoms impact their lives to make them feel heard and cared for, making it easier for you to handle them.
Find a solution
As a nurse, you must possess well-developed problem-solving skills to take charge of challenging situations and difficult patients. Problem-solving is based on your ability to identify crucial issues and create or look for solutions. To effectively deal with difficult patients, you must look at their problems from a different point of view. It helps you provide a broad view of the situation that enables you to weed out factors that aren’t essential, bringing you close to the root cause of the problem.
You must learn to break down the problem. Decide how the problem has developed and determine the effect of the problem troubling your patient. Moreover, after brainstorming and listing all possible solutions, create a plan of action. Decide how you will execute your decision.
As a medical provider, even after running back and forth between rooms and dealing with challenging patients, you need to remain professional and calm. While dealing with not-so-easy patients, it’s your job to remain cool and not lose control. As a result, to ensure you’re relaxed in dealing with difficult situations, you need to know when to step back and remove yourself from the scene. If you think the patient’s behavior or attitude worsens, consider taking a short walk around the facility. Practice long and deep breaths to steady your stress levels. Knowing when to take a short break might be the best method of staying calm while dealing with difficult patients.
Set Clear Boundaries
Undoubtedly every patient staying at the clinic or hospital needs attention. However, sometimes they might ask for more than what’s warranted. Giving in to their needs and demands is a slippery slope. If you find yourself doing so a lot, you soon won’t have enough time for other patients. As a result, to avoid this, set yourself time limit boundaries. As you get more used to telling a difficult patient you’ll see them again within 20 or 30 minutes, you’re likely to find your days less stressful.
Moreover, if a patient is newly admitted, they might act frustrated or difficult with you at first for not giving in to their request. But, as time passes, they’ll get used to it and be able to cooperate with your busy schedule. To ensure you give every patient equal time and attention, don’t let the difficult and demanding patients push you around. Instead, set your rules so that you can do justice to every patient under your supervision.
A career like nursing in the healthcare sector can be fast-paced and challenging. As a nurse, you’ll likely come across all types of patients every day, including the difficult ones. The best way to tackle them is to analyze and solve their problems. Ensure you’re calm and don’t lose control.
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