As a CNA, doctor, nurse, or for those with other medical assistant careers, the way you treat others will say a lot about your character. Having a well-adjusted bedside manner is an important part of your patient relationship, almost as important as the training you took to get you where you are now. A “bedside manner” is the attitude in which you approach your patient’s wants, needs, questions and concerns.
When choosing a CNA as a career, a well-adjusted bedside manner is an important skill to have, as it determines how your patient will interact with you and how comfortable they will feel telling you necessary and personal details – but it isn’t always easy. Developing a bedside manner can take years of experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start practicing now. Here are 5 ways to practice bedside manner tactics.
1. Be engaging and offer attention when you can
As a CNA, your attention may be divided to a dozen different patients all within an hour. While this may seem overwhelming, and perhaps even impossible to be the most charming version of yourself 12 separate times, in time you’ll adapt to life as a CNA and learn small ways to make the most of your time with your patients. For example, asking your patient open-ended questions will draw them out of their shell and show them that you’re keeping them in mind. Also, be sure to use their name every time you see them. Showing your patients you remember them will make them feel like more than just a number.
2. To a Patient, the little things matter
Even though your patient is in your care, you still need to be respectful of their privacy. If there are other patients sharing the same room as yours, make sure their curtain is drawn, especially if they are in a state of undress. Asking your patient if they need anything can go a long way. Simply grabbing them a glass of water, fluffing their pillows, adjusting their covers, and paying close attention to any colostomy bag issues they may be having will show them that they are care about.
3. Have something positive to say
For a patient it can be very trying to stay cooped up; boredom and depression can easily creep in, especially if they do not receive visitors. Coming into your patient’s room with a smile and a positive expression can turn their entire day around.
4. Don’t be judgemental
To some people it is very easy to judge a book by its cover. However, your CNA classes will tell you it is your job to approach each patient professionally and without prejudice in order to make them feel comfortable.
5. Exercise Patience
Much like forcing yourself to have empathy and compassion, showing patience can sometimes be challenging. Dealing with patients day-in and day-out can be both tiring and frustrating, making your natural desire to be empathetic seem dulled over time. Still, you would never want to make your patient, who is already suffering from a matter, feel like they are an added bother to you. Show empathy by getting to know your patient and learning about their lives and why they are here. Many medical professionals find it works well to imagine this person as a member of your own family. How would you feel if your grandmother was in the same position as your patient, and how would you like them to be treated?
Life as a CNA can get hectic, and while you may be tired, you should never ignore the buzzer of a patient in need. Medical stays are usually a trying time for a patient, so try to remember that showing your patient a compassionate and positive attitude will go a long way during their stay, and will reflect well on both you and your workplace.