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#NURSESHIFT: the importance of patient trust

On 27 October, nurses from around the UK came together and discussed the importance of patient trust. Over fifty nurses participated in the chat.

Is trust measurable? Many people from around the twittersphere got in touch with #nurseshift and asked this question, so it was cast out there to be discussed during the chat. Most people thought that it could not be measured, but is something that is gained through practiced and refined qualities that we, as nurses, possess.

Sammy Fischer (@Sammy_Fischer) tweeted:

“I didn’t think it is actually ‘measureable’. Recognition by body language, how much they engage with you, responses”

Conversely, Bex Wimberley (hunnichild) commented:

“I think trust can be measured by listening to patient concerns & addressing anxieties”

Nurse Diana (@shidi47) said:

“Trust needs to be earned. One must build a rapport with patient”.

The issue of the importance of gaining trust in a mental health setting was then raised by @thistledo, Andrew Lopez (@nursefriendly) and Aaron Barnham (@aaronbarnham).

Sally (@nursemaiden) added:

“Patients with dementia have cognitive decline which means communication and understanding is a challenge.”

When asked how it was possible to gain patient trust and what the importance of this was, Katy Woo (@katywoo) replied with:

“keep promises you make to your patients, no matter how mundane or inconsequential they may seem”

Ross Mckinnon also said:

“Without trust, a patient isn’t going to work with you as effectively in managing their care and eventual discharge.”

Claire (@rc4gehr) tweeted:

“active listening, ensuring patient feels heard & in control.”

Teresa Chinn (@agencynurse) reminded us all of the importance and validity of trust, and how fragile it can be:

“Trust is easier to gain from our patients but very difficult to regain once lost”

The chat then progressed on towards the issue of leadership in the workplace. The importance of good leadership is a current issue concerning patient trust on the wards and in nurse led departments. Dave Barton (@bartontd) stated that it was a leader that may be needed to ensure patients are able to trust all staff members. When asked where we could find these leaders, David Foord (@DGFoord) replied with:

“everywhere, bedside, ward, management, national leadership…”

In conclusion, it appears that patient trust is essential to be able to nurse a patient successfully. Some patients have preconceived ideas about nurses which - true or not - can be difficult to deal with as individuals. It seems that distribution of appropriate people skills combined with the effectiveness of our position as authority figures can result in patient trust being prevalent on most occasions.

As @shidi47 said:

“Keep your promises and your word to your patients at all times”

Thanks to all who participated. Tweet your ideas for what you would like the next #nurseshift discussion to be about to either @STNNurse_Mikey or @nurseshift.

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