7 Types of Challenging Patients and How to Interview Them

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By Iris Dawn Tabangcora, RN

4. Talkative Patients


Patients have a rapid speech when they are excited, too detailed, or anxious. The nurse should listen closely for 5-10 minutes and distinguish the reason behind the rapid speech.

Based on the many concerns mentioned, the nurse can try to focus on what seems to be the most important for the patient. The nurse may also ask the patient of his priority concern (e.g. “Among those you mentioned, which concerns you the most?”).

You should be aware of this: It is also important to note whether patients’ thoughts are disorganized and are jumping from one different idea to another.

5. Crying Patients


It is not unusual for nurses to meet patients who are crying. Quiet acceptance of what the crying signals is imperative for the nurse to observe. Patients may also be given private time for them to express their emotions through crying.

Crying is not bad: Facilitate support with a remark that crying is one way of expressing feelings.

6. Angry Patients


Patients, as well as their family members, may have many reasons why they are angry. Patients may get mad because they are not at the peak of their health, or they may have suffered a loss. Some have an outward expression of anger if they feel they lack control over their lives. Worst of all is that this anger may be directed to the nurse. However, the nurse should accept feelings of anger as an expression of emotions.

Best thing to do? In patients who have possibilities of becoming hostile, nurses should prioritize safety and alert security. The nurse must also keep calm and maintain their postures open and non-threatening.

7. Patients with Language Barrier


The ideal interpreter should be an individual that is neutral, objective and should not be a friend or a family member. This is to observe confidentiality. It is important to use simple and concise statements as not to confuse the patient with too many words. The nurse should also allow enough time for the patient to answer. For written forms, a questionnaire with patient’s language as an alternative translation is also a big help.

No. 1 tip: Get an interpreter.

Patient interview skill is one important skill that the nurse should bring in the arena of nursing care. It is important for nurses to be critical of what the patients offer as information. Also, the ability to explore patients’ reasons behind certain emotions and limitations is helpful for the whole process of care. When the patient interview is done excellently, data gathered from interviews will save a life.

Iris Dawn is a nurse writer in her 20s who is on the constant lookout for latest stories about Science. Her interests include Research and Medical-Surgical Nursing. She is currently furthering her studies and is seriously considering being a student as her profession. Life is spoiling her with spaghetti, acoustic playlists, libraries, and the beach.

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