Not all health practitioners can speak a foreign language. Taking up a course in nursing does not require us to enroll in a foreign language class. Yet, what if a man staggering with a bleeding wound walks up to you on your shift and starts speaking to you in an unfamiliar Asian language? As a nurse your first course of action is to prevent further bleeding. After stabilizing his condition, you eventually are going to talk to him. You will definitely be needing an interpreter t get your message across and for you to decipher his answers. The point here is, you simply have got to bridge that gap and talk to your patient in order to assess his condition and find an answer to his presenting problem.
Talk to your patient
You are never going to find out the cause of your patient’s problem unless you talk to him or his significant other who can speak on his behalf. Some physical manifestations could tell you a lot already. However, a direct line to the patient could lead you to more accurate answers.
Ask. Do not assume
Communication is a very powerful tool in health care. We get nowhere with our patients if his or significant others refuses to talk. It is not our place to simply assume things based only on what we see and know. The physical manifestations we see form only the tip of the ice berg that is the totality of the patient’s condition.
Without proper communication, we do not get a complete and accurate history of event surrounding the patient’s condition. Doctors can under estimate and misdiagnose the patient’s condition. Doctors and nurses alike could end up giving a medication that ultimately does not do any good for the patient and may even worsen his condition.
Nurses assess and reassess
We nurses are the frontliners in the care of the patients. We are there with them 24/7. At every waking moment that we have the chance to speak to our patients, we should do so. They can tell us a lot of their current status. They can tell us whether they have other physical problems that they are experiencing.
Know thy self
There are two types of persons, an introvert and an extrovert. If you are a nurse and you find yourself on the side of the introverts, you have two choices. Either you quit your job as a nurse or you can come out of your shell and learn to communicate openly with your patients.
You cannot give what you do not have. You should know yourself. We all know that talking to our patients is an effective way to get them to talk to us. Communication is a two way process. As a nurse you need to go halfway in order to meet your patients. Communication is the key to making good nursing assessments.