Two aspects are the most crucial in making a certified nurse stand out from the rest. One is their etiquettes, and the other is their knowledge and skills. Professional decorum often takes preference over knowledge and skill is because no matter how talented a nurse is, it is useless unless they know how to talk to patients. Patients also refuse treatment that is well within their rights from nurses who refuse to show them kindness and compassion.
A nurse’s professional etiquette also extends to communicating with their bosses and board members. You cannot put your demands forward unless you know the language and the fluency to make it happen. So, how does a nurse enhance professional etiquette if they’re so important? Since a nurse’s career depends on the impression they make, they cannot forego this lesson. So, whether you’re reading as a struggling nurse or if you want to know the rules, then this article is for you:
1. Introduce Yourself
Introductions are essential, and whether you’re meeting with a patient or your boss, you must maintain a friendly posture while introducing yourself and preferably a smile. Speak humbly with your patient so they can comprehend who you are and why you are here.
It is also a known etiquette to start any conversation with an introduction. It is because it removes any feeling of unfamiliarity between you and the person you’re talking to. When it comes to your bosses, your introduction needs to be slightly different. You may need to shake their hands and describe briefly what you do and how long you have been doing it. Think of an introduction as a trust exercise.
2. Know Your Skills
Whether you graduated years ago or are new to the medical sector, a registered nurse responsibility extends from knowing the skills they need to treat their patients. It includes how to hold a patient, approach them and administer invasive medications. If you’re unsure about performing an exam or administer medication, consult the doctor in charge but never try to assume. The medical sector is one of the few sectors that involve you knowing what you have to and not taking a guess. Medical malpractice is a serious ground for lawsuits. You don’t want your reputation tarnishing let alone the hospital you work for, becoming a liability instead of giving you a second chance.
3. Make Sure Your Conversations Are Nuanced
It is customary in your workplace to have a conversation with your patients and coworkers. However, it would help if you steered clear of dangerous territories. It would help if you stayed away from topics on religion and politics, especially when people are sensitive about these subjects. Your oath doesn’t allow you to show biases or make your patient uncomfortable if they feel you may hold their political views against them. You should also not unload your troubles on your patients and keep the conversation on the matter at hand. The best way to ensure you never go off-topic is to make observations about the patient, ask a question and share something about yourself but nothing too personal. For example, if a patient came in for stitches, inform them about their condition, and if you ever had stitches, how did you deal with yours. Not only are you staying on topic, but you’re also making sure that the conversation doesn’t head in a direction where the patient may get mad at you.
4. Mind Your Body Language
Communication sometimes goes beyond what you say. It is also how you carry yourself. Body language makes all the difference. When your patient sees you for the first time, the first features they will notice about you are how you look and how you carry yourself. If you’re slouching with an unpleasant face, a patient may erect walls and not want to get treatment from you, no matter how talented you may be. If you feel sleepy, it is always best to freshen up before seeing a patient; after all, tired eyes don’t make for good nursing etiquette. When a patient is talking, you should maintain eye contact and finish before you ask any questions. Don’t fiddle or move your feet as if you’re already bored. These etiquettes also extend to your bosses. You need to stand up straight and tall and always shake their hand firmly. Don’t shuffle nervously, and ensure to maintain eye contact. It helps if you use hand gestures to signify a point. Make sure you mind your body language at all times. Although it may sound simple, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Often we may end up ignoring these factors and inadvertently make ourselves seem unapproachable.
5. Dress Properly
Nurses mostly wear scrubs, but even when you’re wearing scrubs, you can look sloppy. It would help if you always wash your clothes every day. They also need to be ironed and in good condition. When it comes to your hair, given the complexity of your field, you need to make sure they are short enough that they can get covered when you’re administering care. Some hospitals don’t allow jewelry and watches, including wedding rings. It is because they can get in the way of your work and can also get stuck while you’re performing a treatment. If you have tattoos, find out your hospital policy and if you need additional clothing to cover them up. Your shoes also need to be clean and proper for a hospital environment. Some patients are bothered by the sound of heels clicking. You also represent the hospital you work for, so a sloppy image reflects poorly on you and your profession.
6. Cultivate a Good Environment
As a nurse, your work is tedious. You work long hours, and you’re often tired. However, this is no reason for you to lash out at patients or coworkers. There will be days when your patients are complicated and don’t want to cooperate. There also may be days when you need to pull a weekend shift. No matter what happens, think of this as an occupational hazard. You need to ensure that you have coping mechanisms in place and never let your professionalism slip. Always remain friendly and encourage your workers to do better. It is okay to give yourself a few minutes but never show up to work aggravated. As a medical professional, you need to be approachable and professional at all times.
As a nurse, how you present and carry yourself matters. As humans, we take in the entire imagery of a person and not simply their talents or skills. So, to ensure you’re putting your best image forward, you should always start with an introduction and positive body language and dress for the part. In addition, make sure you never slack in front of your bosses or give them the impression you don’t treat your job seriously. You also need to make sure that you’re staying on top of your skills and never treating a patient out of assumption instead of knowledge and skill. Finally, make sure you always stay level-headed at work. No matter how tired you are, your patients don’t deserve any form of recklessness.