Using Compassion and Kindness to Promote Better Patient Outcomes

Nurse working with a tablet

Caring for patients is a ministry that nurses feel called to perform. Although nursing is an inherently compassionate profession, it’s all too easy to lose sight of these values in the rush to get from one patient to the next. Advancing in your health care career isn’t solely about continuing education opportunities, such as the RN to BSN program at Grand Canyon University. It’s also about slowing down and taking the time to reflect on the values that initially led you to health care. Remembering these values every day can improve outcomes for your patients and lead to a more spiritually fulfilling career.

Recognizing the Measurable Benefits of Compassion

Every dedicated nurse understands that empathizing with patients is beneficial for them. But unless a nurse understands that it does have measurable outcomes, it’s easy to neglect to let patients see that compassion. Patients who are cared for with compassion and kindness feel more able to trust their health care providers—and a trusting relationship is crucial for the best outcomes. It empowers patients to share sensitive details about their symptoms and challenges. In turn, this allows nurses to develop effective treatment and recovery suggestions that are tailored to the patients’ specific needs. Additionally, compassionate care eases patients’ anxiety, and a relaxed patient is more likely to:

  • Have a shorter hospitalization
  • Be better able to tolerate pain and discomfort
  • Have a positive attitude toward recovery
  • Comply with post-discharge instructions

Putting Yourself in Your Patients’ Shoes

So how exactly can you show your patients how much you truly care about them? Start by putting yourself in their shoes. Every patient is a unique individual, of course, but here are a few common concerns and challenges they face:

  • Patients worry about “bothering” busy nurses to ask for help.
  • Patients feel overwhelmed by the medical equipment.
  • Hospitalized patients feel homesick, lonely and isolated.
  • Patients hesitate to ask for clarification on something they don’t understand.
  • Patients feel as though they’re not being listened to.
  • Patients feel as though they aren’t being involved in their own care.
  • Patients may be embarrassed to admit problems, such as lacking support at home.
  • Patients might not be as fluent in English as they pretend to be.

When you meet each new patient, ask yourself what you can do to help that person feel more comfortable in the hospital setting.

Treating Patients with Kindness

Each time you walk into a room with a new patient, greet him or her with a smile. Shake your patient’s hand and pull up a chair. This automatically signals to your patient that you’re there to listen and to help. Tell your patient that you’re always available to help, and that he or she shouldn’t hesitate to press the call button when assistance is needed. These are simple, easy steps to take, but they can make a world of difference for the people in your care.

You can advance your career and support your ability to improve patient outcomes with the RN to BSN degree program available from Grand Canyon University. Visit the website of our College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, and click the Request More Information button to get started.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.