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'Every interaction with a patient is a therapeutic one'

  • Comments (8)

She described this as her survival technique on a ward where she knew she couldn’t be in three places at once. “When I realised I no longer felt their pain, I knew it was time to leave” she said.

That same day I had the pleasure of visiting a unit in Nottingham who care for people with personality disorders. I was really heartened by their approach to patient care - and how they care for their staff.

In the Ansel Clinic they aim to ensure that every interaction with a patient is a therapeutic one.

It rolls off the tongue easily - but how do they actually do it?

The clinic uses an operational framework based on social therapy so that staff at all levels - consultants to cleaners - are supported to work within such challenging an environment as this. Systems are in place for regular debriefing, reflective practice and supervision.

It was interesting to hear how staff from all disciplines, including managers, work alongside each other - and even those working in cleaning and hotel services have training to help them to understand personality disorder, enabling them to function as part of the team.

I was struck by how these ideas could be adapted and used by nurses - particularly those in acute care and care of older people settings.

All nurses need to have time to stop and think about what they are doing, how they are doing it and why. Sadly, many are not given this chance.

No nurse should ever feel as my friend felt. Staff have to be supported to give effective care and to work out solutions when things start to go wrong. Those who need extra support can then be identified. This requires staff at all levels to share the same objectives for their service.

So who looks after your team to ensure every interaction with patients is a therapeutic one?

  • Comments (8)

Readers' comments (8)

  • Anonymous

    If only we had time......

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  • Anonymous

    I would say no-one does in my workplace. Management refuse and only hide their sharp sticks when shown an RCN logo, which continually seems to be out. My dream workplace, where I am in charge of course, goes something like what is described above, because I believe it is possible even with meagre resources, but not unless the investment is made in the relationships initially. This is what takes some funding to start with and creating a structure that holds that. Where that isn't in place or valued, then the environment remains either a battleground or a pit of vipers and the patients are ultimately on the receiving end of it.

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  • Wow, are there any jobs going there? Sounds pretty good compared to my place ...

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  • Anonymous

    'Every interaction with a patient is a therapeutic one'

    How come this has only just been figured out. it is something in my work i would take for granted. does nobody study Carl Rogers anymore, or the psychology of interpersonal relationships which I assumed was a prerequisite for any post diploma job!
    Pity the patients, and the poor colleagues and everybody else who come into contact with all those if this is missing.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 22-Oct-2011 1:25 pm

    Well said, or as in the words of Thumpers mother, 'if you can't say something nice don't say nothing at all'

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  • Anonymous | 22-Oct-2011 1:25 pm I think it has less to do with the fact that it has just been figured out, Nurses have understood this intrinsically for however long now, but have been actually PREVENTED from working this way by working cultures imposed on us, staffing levels, etc. That is the difference, and it is a big one.

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  • michael stone

    I am still baffled, not by what Eileen wrote (which looks right to me) or by the posts (which look right to me) but by this - if I had posted similar comments to Eileen's, I would have been met with 'you are not a nurse and don't know what you are talking about' responses. Which is rubbish - because Eileen's post is the description of the correct LOGICAL framework for the enviroment !, and thus can be worked out 'ab initio' ( as can the 'my manager doesn't support this' type comments, when one thinks 'ab initio' about the way managers are likely to behave).

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  • Anonymous

    michael stone | 24-Oct-2011 10:48 am

    looks like you have 'successfully' terminated yet another useful debate if this was your aim!

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