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3 Patient Rapport Tips: Effective Strategies to Promote Trust and Cooperation

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By Nurseslabs Contributor

Has it ever crossed your mind to look from the patient’s perspective and contemplate on how a nurse could effectively build rapport? Well, I did, and from doing so, I realized the great importance of patient rapport and figured out certain strategies to achieve it.

For starters, rapport is necessary to create positive management outcomes. Meaning, without it, care plan could go astray and inefficient. Just imagine taking care of someone who doesn’t even trust you let alone like you being around…you get the picture — it’s dysfunctional. Therefore, it is by establishing a good rapport that we could get clients to cooperate.

Apart from the basics, you might already know, such as greeting patients accordingly, remembering their names, offering assistance and acknowledging their efforts, etc., here are some ways to establish a harmonious relationship with clients.

1. Think like a wise nurse but communicate in the language of your patients. 

Your way of thinking reflects your level of confidence and patients prefer nurses who seem intelligent. It is by knowing how to properly take care of them that your knowledge and skills in nursing will surface, not by talking like a know-it-all.


Communicate in your patient’s language by adjusting to their level of understanding. When I teach or explain, I try to make things simple and understandable that even an average teenager or younger would get it. That way they’ll find it easier to listen and follow instructions. In a nutshell, it is about being able to involve the patient in the process.

2. Remain calm without being complacent, be vigilant without seeming paranoid.

Being able to function under pressure is one thing; being calm while working under pressure is another. I think nothing resembles charisma and reliability like calmness does, although, for some healthcare professionals, this can be quite challenging especially in cases where everything seems out of control. I myself admit that I still often lose composure when I’m extremely pressured. But if our aim is to earn our patient’s confidence, it is a must to have this ability.

Take note, though, that being calm most of the time doesn’t mean having to come off as complacent. We ought to show our patients that we genuinely care for them. That’s why being vigilant is just as significant. Besides, it’s part of our duty to assess thus, being mindful of our patients just proves that we are sincerely concerned about their well-being. Just don’t overdo it to the point of seeming paranoid because nobody feels at ease with that.

3. Make a great first impression.

There’s a reason why most jobs require employees to have a pleasing personality — that is I believe, to create a good impression on clients. For us, nurses, first impression from patients are especially more vital because we need them to like us to make them compliant.

“…first impression from patients are especially more vital because we need them to like us to make them compliant.”

One can create a great first impression by simply dressing well, looking neat, wearing a smile, speaking clearly, and being a good listener. The goal for this is to make them feel comfortable with us hence, make it easy for them to agree on our terms concerning their recovery.

Good rapport is highly crucial (if not mandatory) in nursing, and as much as many would think that it only requires people skills, it doesn’t just end there. Sure it’s a major thing, but other traits like cleverness, confidence, calmness, vigilance, and pleasing personality are equally integral in establishing rapport with clients.

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