Have you ever thought about what is meant — or understood — when you say to a patient "It's going to be okay"? Hearing an exchange between her grandson and a pediatric nurse prompted Ann Brady to reflect on abbreviated communications.
Overwhelmed by her poor prognosis, a patient with a newly diagnosed advanced cancer cuts off communicating with her health care team.
Medical terminology can be a foreign language — or confusing, at the least — for many patients. Ann Brady uses a patient encounter to illustrate the potential miscommunication inherent in using "medicalese" in patient communication.
Although many physical expressions are universal, oncology nurses may be challenged to catch notice of more subtle body language from patients or a family member.
WWW is not for the world-wide web, but it is an easy way to remember the 3 w's of communication with patients with advanced disease: wish, worry, wonder.
When patients and families are holding on to what you don't say, they may use combativeness and being argumentative to keep you — and your words — from bringing them to accept the unacceptable.
Grief over a loved one's impending death may manifest as other emotions or difficult-to-manage behavior. This month's column describes how families may express their grief as anxiety about their loved one's care, an attempt to take control of the situation, or anger toward the clinicians involved in their loved one's care.
Seeing another patient's situation as worse may be a coping mechanism for some patients with cancer, but those patients need to be reminded not to diminish their own disease and treatment.
A challenging patient case illustrates how caring for each other enables oncology nurses to provide better patient care.
The patient seemed to demonstrate typical noncompliance behaviors. Until one day her appearance suggested another explanation, prompting an investigation that revealed a surprising cause.
How long were you a nurse before you felt competent? Reflections on creating an atmosphere of learning and growing from our own mistakes.
At what point is attentiveness being too nice? Ann Brady discusses how her words followed the patient's wishes, but her actions prompted an unexpected question.
Reflecting on the 2 meanings of this simple word helps explain the nuances of communicating with cancer patients and their families at pivotal points of care.
Are the difficult questions easier to answer when the patient still has treatment options available? Ann Brady talks about helping patients and families navigate the changes in disease and care.
Loss of appetite and not eating are difficult aspects of cancer for patients' loved ones to understand. Continued and diligent nurse education can help both patients and families cope with this disturbing effect.
Providing your patient with the opportunity to tell his or her story helps to ensure that the goals of treatment are defined and met.
Patients' constant proximity to nurses gives them opportunities and the ease of familiarity to ask difficult questions. When answering, nurses should remember that part of the answer is the patient's choice of who to ask.
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