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Caring includes listening to patients talk

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I recently finished my final placement of the year. Having reflected on the time that I spent there, I found it to be a fantastic learning experience from which I feel I have gained so much confidence.

I have also made many new relationships, not only with the hospital team but also with the patients.

As I prepared to leave the ward on my final night, having cared for four post-operative patients, four admissions and my own pounding head that session, I was stopped in the corridor by one of the patients I had looked after. She looked at me and uttered the two words that always make all the hard work worthwhile: ‘thank you’.

From all of my experiences and from everything that I’ve observed, talking and listening to patients is something so powerful yet so under used and not prioritised.

Understandably, it may be a case of a lack of time because of the duty pressures which all staff are put under on a daily basis determine whether or not this happens.

However, when an opportunity does arise, it should be grabbed with both hands. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

I feel that when you get a prompt by a patient indicating that they want to talk, why not stop for a moment and indulge in a little chat?

Talking can really build a good foundation for a relationship; it helps you get to know more about your patient, how they are feeling and any preferences they may have, and helps them relax, trust and feel comfortable with you.

Not only that, it also helps them to realise that we are humans after all, who genuinely do want to see them get better. It’s a way for them to find out that there is more to us than simply being a floating medicine box.

James Squires is a second-year adult nursing student in London

Want to read more Starting Out? Click on the more by this author link at the top of the page.

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