According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021, there will be a surge of cancer patients, with 1.9 million new cases diagnosed within the US alone. Regrettably, every year thousands of patients die due to this fatal disease. However, healthcare providers’ job is to make every patient, no matter the stage of cancer they are at, feel at ease. Though this can be tough, getting too close to patients can put them at immediate risk of developing depression. Simultaneously, being too cold and distant can make patients feel unwelcome.
Since most patients enduring illnesses are scared for their life, they feel high levels of stress and anxiety and suffer from severe bouts of depression. Therefore, being a primary care provider for these individuals can be challenging. However, a healthcare expert can drastically impact the patient’s quality of life, health, stress, depression, and happiness. In fact, patient experience is what differentiates an excellent primary healthcare provider from another one.
Below, we have gathered five essential traits to equip you to provide exceptional primary care for your patients. These are especially beneficial for practitioners such as nurses since they spend most of their time with patients. While nurses should consider enrolling in flexible higher education programs such as online DNP programs to hone their skills, mastering these tips will be a bonus.
If you want to excel at providing excellent healthcare to your patients, start with improving your communication skills. It is your job to communicate with the patient, family members, and other practitioners to ensure everyone is on the same page. Your patient is highly likely to feel lonely and irritated due to taking countless medications and feeling left out, not knowing how their treatments benefit them. We recommend taking the time to walk your patients through the entire process at a comfortable pace and addressing their questions along the way.
Throughout the treatment, set aside time to have one-on-one discussions with each patient to know if they feel any improvements or deterioration in their health. While most healthcare providers use medical jargon, communicating this way with patients can leave them feeling frustrated. Instead, do not bog down your patient’s mind with words they may not understand. Try speaking in simple layman terms that adults and children of all ages easily understand. Patients who understand treatments better are more likely to follow instructions correctly. On the other hand, patients who feel unheard have a higher probability of not following the regime and even switching healthcare providers mid-treatment.
Focus on the patient, not the illness
Too often, primary care providers focus on the disease itself instead of the patient. However, this mistake can cost them to dehumanize the patient and make them feel alienated from the recovery process. On the contrary, healthcare experts are responsible for bridging the gap between patients, uncertainties, and questions about the journey to recovery.
A doctor may prescribe a list of treatments and medications. On the other hand, a practitioner such as a terminal care nurse can set up a holistic approach for the patient by encouraging them to walk more often, eat a healthy diet, get proper sleep, etc. It is the healthcare provider’s job to engage the family, patient, and doctors in a healthy dialogue so the former can understand their loved one’s situation better. Take the time to listen to your patient’s individual needs. If there is a specific activity they are not in the mood for, indulge them in something else they enjoy instead.
Our first instinct is to become overly attached to patients. Unfortunately, this does you no good. Too many healthcare workers get consumed by their patient’s illnesses, conversations, stress, anxiety, and sadness. It can take a toll on your health, lead to loss of sleep and result in poor patient care.
For example, in some cases, cancer can be detected at a relatively early stage and can be diagnosed quickly. In others, it can become a terminal illness. Therefore, a good healthcare provider must master the art of practicing compassion while remaining detached from the patient. Caring for any patient can make you feel empathetic for them. However, if you feel for all your patients, you will be unable to manage healthy boundaries at work.
Teach your patients mindfulness
During stressful times, teaching your patient the valuable skill of mindfulness can help them get a better grip on their emotions. It can help them stabilize mood swings and equip them to let go of circumstances beyond their control, such as the ailment’s spread. Furthermore, being mindful of yourself and those around you reduces patients’ risk of acting out due to frustration, thereby increasing feelings of calmness.
In the process of teaching your patients, also practice what you preach. If you are mindful of your actions, you will not snap at patients if they fail to comply with your instructions. Or feel upset at the deteriorating health of a terminally ill patient. Moreover, it can help keep you focused and save you the time and energy of falling down the rabbit hole of endless depression.
Practicing mindfulness can be one of the best tools primary care providers and patients can use to transform bad days into good days. It can turn things around, lead to a metamorphosis of suffering into healing. It can be the one thing that keeps your patient strong even amid the darkest times when they may feel like giving up on the treacherous battle of cancer.
Lastly, to provide the best healthcare services to your patients, it is best to stay updated with medicine’s latest practices and advancements. You can either attend conferences and learn new skills or reach out to other organizations and hire skilled helpers. Staying knowledgeable with the latest practices ensures your patients’ best bet at living a healthy life, which should be your ultimate goal as a good healthcare provider.
A good healthcare provider is one in a million, like a ray of sunshine for the patient who is battling between life and death. Remember, during this time, look for ways to provide comfort and ease for the patient as chemotherapy and heavy doses of drugs can knock out even the strongest patients.