Why do we need patients and caretakers to trust us? How do we walk into a room with sick, scared and sometimes agitated patients and gain their trust in just a few minutes? With high census and demands that the patient can't see placed on us as the technicians, how do we navigate this? In this article, I hope to share with you some of my own techniques and rationale behind these questions and answers. So let's start at the beginning.
Why do we need patients, caretakers and other staff to trust us?
The answer is simple really. If the environment we are in fosters trust, we are likely to have the opportunity to provide quality testing. Quality testing is the whole reason we are there in the first place. We are helping the care team find answers and create a plan that is going to help the patient. If the patient and caretakers trust you, they are more likely to aide you in getting the quality testing you need. Having the care team trust you allows them to assist you when you need it and give you the proper space to perform the test you need to conduct.
How To earn Trust in under 10 Minutes
Why do we want to earn a patient's trust?
Test quality is directly affected by the patients state of consciousness. If your patient is relaxed, there will be less muscle artifact. If your patient trusts you, they are more likely to comply instructions.
Activations: When your patient trusts you, they will give you better effort for activations. While it's hard for anyone to sleep in a strange place with a stranger watching you, your patient is more likely to fall asleep if they trust you.
How does confidence build trust?
Patients are vulnerable, angry and scared (sometimes all 3!) It helps that you know what's going because they don't. Answering questions as best you can with confidence within your scope of practice will empower patients and caretakers to trust you.
Patients can relax if they believe you know what to do in the situation that they experience an event.
Moving through the steps of the procedure with purpose shows patients that you know what you are doing. Even if you make a mistake in measuring or applying, move forward to correct it with purpose.
Read the room and adjust to what your patient needs.
Patients can experience a range of stressors and emotions: scared, happy, sad, upset, sick, in pain and any combination of these emotions
Be confident and reassuring to the patient by answering questions appropriately in your scope of practice.
Be light and fun when you can but always remain professional.
Be professional and courteous by performing the procedure to the best of your ability.
Redirect your patient if they are too upset to participate. Ask questions, offer music or television. Any type of distraction that is approved in your workplace setting or facility.
This technique applies to ancillary staff as well. Remember, we are all on the same team. Be confident and direct in what you need in order to provide the best testing. Coordinate with staff and caretakers for the best practice you can deliver, even if that means waiting for other treatments or cares to be provided. If you work with others to coordinate, they are more likely to give you what you need.
While it may seem like this is an article geared toward the clinical setting, this can also be applied to remote work as well. If you can establish trust and confidence with your patients, you will get better results. In the end, that's what we are here for.
In the remote monitoring setting, gaining the trust of the patient and the caretakers can be more vital than at the bedside. Afterall, we need the patient and the caretakers to cooperate in order to monitor effectively.
Building that trust is a vital skill that will help you become a better technician and help you deliver quality testing. I have seen first hand how we can adapt our practice to the patient's needs and get a better outcome than trying to force the patient to bend to what we want. That compromise can mean the difference between a successful, quality recording over a failed attempt, due to the patient not being willing or unable to cooperate.
We all know that our role as technicians does not end and begin at the patient care level. We have workplace dynamics and other stressors that the patients can't see or know. To be fair, we should be "checking all other things at the door" and go into the patient care setting with one thing in mind: delivering that patient the best care we can. The rest of our stresses and dynamics will be right where we left them when we are finished with the patient.
We all know there will be times that no matter how good we are or how hard we try, sometimes a test is just unsuccessful. That shouldn't stop us from trying everything we can, every time, to get the best recording possible. Just remember, we are all on the same team. The patient care team.