What’s the best way to get know your patients? There are so many interesting people in the world. Let’s see what some students have discovered.
Public Health Student (Singapore):
I think being on Prac is a big challenge, especially when you are from an international background because you need to adapt to the clinical environment. You need to put your point across to the patients as well and have rapport with them. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult when you come from different backgrounds. When patients are sick they are not the nicest people to be with, as well, so I think it’s good to just have the understanding even though you are an international student. The local students are stressed out as well. So it’s not that, you are ostracized or anything like that. You realise when you are out there that there are a lot of international people working in the hospital as well.
Nursing Student (Nigeria):
I learnt to talk and become engaged with patients, firstly from Uni, I did a course on communication and there we learnt about effective communication, empathy and using the language and not being judgemental in the way we speak. So basically we learnt to introduce ourselves and ask questions reflectively. It helped me because I could just go to a patient and ask questions and reflect on what they say and make them feel important and that helped the patient to open up more to me. Also another factor that helped me in speaking to patients was just listening, the act of listening to them and introducing myself with some of the younger patients. I just learnt to tell my own story of how I left when I was 17 - then they get fascinated and then they open up more to me - by my stories I tell them.
Nursing Student (Japan):
Basically I try to remember their names first and say hello to them when I meet them first. I think they are happy when nurses remember their name. They want to talk about themselves- what their body is going through. If they don’t mind talking to me I just ask many questions of them.
Nursing Student (Nigeria):
Sometimes, you know, patients can’t be bothered to understand what we are trying to say because they’re in pain. Anyway, sometimes it’s hard to get over that, over the nurse-patient first interaction because they’re in pain and you don’t seem to know what they’re saying and they don’t even understand your accent, so it takes a bit of patience and a bit of listening more than talking and just telling the patient, “well I’m sorry, I don’t really understand what you are asking” or “I’m not really good at communication but I am really interested in you, and I want to help you and I really want you to help me too”.
Lecturer (School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUT):
Communication that patients expect from our nurses is: friendly, we start off with social communication. They want to know about the weather, they want to know about the grand children, they expect you to ask those things before we move on to assessment of pain, assessment of what’s wrong with the patient as well as telling them good explanations about what’s going to happen to them. The nurse is expected to understand the process of every procedure, medication, treatment that that patient is going to have, and explain it well.