What Supportive Emotional Measures can a Nurse Provide to a Hospitalized Patient?
Being a nurse means more than simply being the person who provides medicine to the patient, and keeps track of their health to report to the doctor. Nurses care for patients in different ways, including emotionally. They calm scared patients, empathize with suffering patients, and give hope to those who are miserable. Nurses also have to provide emotional support to the patients under their care in the following manner:
Dealing with the Illness
There are a number of reasons why a person may have to be hospitalized. A nasty accident, a serious illness or post-surgery recuperation etc. Whatever the reason, at the time of hospitalization the patients can feel a strongly negative emotional reaction, comprising of fear and uncertainty. At such a time, it falls to the nurse to provide the patient with emotional support and help them deal with the symptoms of their illness.
Preparing for Treatment
While at the hospital, the patient will have to prepare for treatment by taking daily doses of medicine, either orally or intravenously. The patient may also have to undergo surgery, and that requires its own set of preparations. The patient's nurse will have to take the lead in explaining which medicine needs to be taken and why.
The patient could have many questions regarding the intake of the medicine and its possible side effects. The nurse needs to provide the appropriate explanations and reassure the patient about any possible side effects.
Adjusting to Hospital Life
Going from living in your own house to living in a hospital can be a disconcerting experience. It takes some time for the patient to acclimatize to the hospital environment. During this period of acclimatization, the nurse must help the patient get used to the new surroundings.
Everything from the hospital gown to the food to the noise and smells of the hospital can add up to disorient the patient. The nurse should be on hand from the start to welcome the patient to the hospital and explain the details of their stay.
Handling the Mental Effects
The illness, the medicines, the side effects and the new environment can often combine to put a great strain on the patient's mental health. This effect is seen more strongly the longer the patient needs to stay in the hospital. In a world of medicines, injections, surgeries, and health check-ups, the nurse can provide a welcome island of relief and normalcy.
Patients see nurses as the people who visits them most often, and look to the nurses for comfort and aid. It is the nurse's duty to keep a close eye on the patient's mental health, to handle any unexpected emotional outbursts calmly and coolly, and in case things become worrisome, to report the situation to the doctor as soon as possible.
Keeping them Company
Since patients spend the most time with the nurses, they look to them not just for medical aid but also social interaction. The nurse needs to be aware of the patient's physical and mental health, and be an accurate judge of how long the patients should be kept up talking and when to put them to rest.
The nurse needs to be practiced in the art of small talk to distract the patients from their illnesses with bright conversation and good humor. It has been found that patients who are in a happier and positive frame of mind respond far better to treatment, and that is what the nurse must strive to provide for the patient.
Bonding with Family Members
Patients usually have a support system outside the hospital in the form of friends and family members. They will often visit the hospital to check on the patient, and during that time they will want to know about the patient's condition and ongoing treatment.
All these details are provided by the nurse who is in charge of the patient. It is important that the nurse establishes a cordial relationship with the patient's friends and relatives so they can all work together to help the patient get better as quickly and completely as possible.
Preparing to Leave the Hospital
Once the treatment is complete, it is time for the patient to leave the hospital. Depending on how long the patient has been inside, returning to regular life can be quite challenging. The patient needs to be told about the precautions that still need to be taken once they go outside the hospital, the medicines they must take, the exercises that must do and the activities they must avoid.
A nurse can be of great help in getting the patient ready to go back to the real world. The relationship between the nurse and patient can help the patient continue to remain in touch with the hospital through the course of future check-ups until they are able to adjust to their everyday life.
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