I am currently a nursing student and will be graduate in May and was struggling with developing the skill of hand off report. i did notice that nurses tend to give a report about the patients personality rather than the patients health. “the patient was grouchy” or “the patient is very unpleasant.” Do you think that this is necessary and does this hinder the care the patient will receive from the next nurse?
It’s about the only worthwhile part of report. I can find all of the medical history and condition in the chart, what I really need to know is how the patient is in ways that are not charted. I need to know about the psychosocial dystrophy that is going on in the room and the family drama that is not in the chart.
I would say that the patient’s personality is important during report, depending on the situation. There is a lot that is not included in the chart that can be useful for your shift. An example being: a patient was recently diagnosed with cancer and he has been grumpy all day- this could be a sign of distress, or just a sign that they need time to process the news. Family dynamics are almost always left out of the chart (with the exception of abuse cases) and sometimes it is good to know some of that before you walk into a room and have an intense family jump down your throat.
I do suggest to take the “he’s grumpy” with a grain of salt though, sometimes patients just don’t like a certain nurse. I tend to get along pretty well with the “grumpy” ones- another token of advice for the grumpy patients is to explain what is going on, why you’re doing things, and ask them if they have any other questions. People usually get grumpy because they are feeling frustrated/ scared/ overwhelmed and just don’t understand what is going on.
I wouldn’t make too much of it. i.e. don’t think of it as slander, unless the nurse is genuinely defaming the patient. If a nurse is reporting on how the patient is feeling, or what the relationship dynamics have been it can tell you a lot, and prepare you for how you will approach the patient and help them alleviate their burdens, and care for them.
Sometimes nurses are just dumping their bad patient-nurse relationship on you, but unless it’s genuinely bad, don’t let it get you down. Sometimes you just have to ignore negative nurses, move on and work on how you will improve your care of the patient.
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