Visiting a hospital can be terrifying and emotionally overwhelming for both the patients and the accompanying family. They may encounter intimidating situations like a terminal illness diagnosis or major surgery that could shatter their emotional well-being and force them into a vulnerable state.
In times like these, nurses have to step up and take charge of the counseling process. They spend plenty of one-on-one time with patients while consistently monitoring their health. Hence, most patients start to develop comfort and trust with their assigned nurses. Patients turn to nurses for guidance and counseling when uncertain times spark fear in their minds.
Nurses should respect the sanctity of this responsibility by responding in a positive, empathetic manner. However, it is complicated for them to assess and understand how to counsel different patients with varying situations. They should have the correct qualifications to help them identify the kind of emotional support they can provide to various patients.
Here are some situations where nurses should actively support the patients emotionally.
1. Getting A Critical Diagnosis
It is severely challenging for any person to be told they have a serious or terminal disease. Moreover, some patients end up in the hospital due to nasty accidents that may sometimes have critical repercussions. It can spark numerous negative emotions, including fear and uncertainty.
Nurses should know how to meet the patient’s emotional needs. They should be able to cater to diverse situations wherein patients encounter different diagnoses. Acquiring the right qualifications can help them apply both theoretical concepts and extensive training in practitioner skills to real-life situations.
If you want to refine your emotional counseling skills, you can consider online counseling graduate programs to gain a deep insight into numerous psychological approaches.
2. Pre-Treatment Preparation
Various forms of treatment can be scary for patients. Some of this fear stems from limited knowledge of the treatment. Some treatments, like surgeries, also come with certain critical risks. Such situations often inspire fear in patients, as the entire treatment process can seem new and laden with various uncertainties.
Nurses can reassure patients by taking the time to chat extensively with them. They should encourage patients to ask questions regarding the treatment openly to drive away their doubts. They can take them through the entire diet process they should follow, the side effects they can encounter with some medications, and what they are used for.
Some patients may also have reactions like excessive crying. Nurses should not express awkwardness and make the patient feel worse. They should let them release all their feelings before offering reassuring words.
3. Getting Used To The Hospital
Sometimes patients need to get admitted to the hospital when they have a condition that must be consistently monitored for longer than a day. Initially, they may be surrounded by the comforting presence of family members or friends. However, once visiting hours are over, they start experiencing more significant discomfort and isolation.
Hospitals can sometimes be raucous and have distinct medicinal smells that can be uncomfortable for newly admitted patients. Moreover, various people complain about distasteful hospital food. However, above all, they are likely to realize they are no longer residing among the familiar walls of their home. It can make them feel more anxious and alone.
Nurses should be at the forefront in such situations. They should spend time with patients whenever they get the chance. Simply chatting with them about random topics can take their mind off the surroundings. Even small actions can go a long way when providing emotional counseling.
4. Post-Surgery Period
Some patients undergo harsh surgeries that require extensive care in the aftermath. Hence, nurses must track their health and ensure the treatment stays on track. They must constantly provide medicines and injections and even keep the patient on strict diets until they recover. It can be exhausting for the patient to follow so many rules. Patients can also encounter severe physical pain causing emotional distress.
Nurses should lighten such dreary situations by offering humorous quips or chatting about fun topics to keep the patient’s mind off the inevitable stress of the post-surgery routine. Alternatively, they should be attentive if patients want to have a meaningful conversation and confide their feelings. It is better to create a judgment-free zone and show the patient you understand their perspective.
5. Reassuring Family Members
It is natural for family members to feel concerned regarding the health of their sick relative. However, they may not always be in the loop about the health or treatment of the patient. It can cause them to feel stressed out and anxious until they are adequately informed and reassured, as they may fear the worst.
Nurses should develop a good bond with the family members and provide emotional support. They should create open lines of communication and notify them immediately about any developments occurring in the patient’s health. Moreover, they should explain how to care for the patient once they are discharged so they can ensure they administer the medicines in a timely manner.
In case of a serious diagnosis, they should comfort the family and tell them what to expect regarding the disease. They should also inform them about various treatment options they can consider.
6. Getting Discharged From The Hospital
Getting discharged from the hospital is a positive development, but it can be strenuous for some patients. When patients are required to stay in the hospital for extended periods, they may feel uncertain about the new beginning. They could feel unsure about how to regain their normal life. It can also be challenging to understand how to handle aftercare alone.
Nurses can help with this aspect by offering to stay in contact to help with the entire process. They can inform them about all the medication and nutrition requirements they should be careful about. Furthermore, they can offer practical advice about easing into a normal routine.
Patients can undergo severe physical, spiritual, and emotional distress in a hospital. The severity of certain diseases, accidents, or treatment options can leave them fearful and anxious. Nurses can have a massive role in keeping their minds off stressful situations and helping them express their feelings openly. This counseling can make a significant impact by allowing both the patient and family members to feel informed and reassured.