8 Ways Nurses Can Ease Patient Anxiety

Anxiety is common in patients who are dealing with different medical conditions. Be it severe or mild, the disease and its treatment can trigger frustration among patients. Anxiety can create nervousness, fear, uncertainty, and worry, and this is not limited to the healthcare industry. When confronted with a new experience, it’s typical for people to feel anxious or fearful, and being involved in a healthcare scenario is no exception. 

The majority of patients and their families are unfamiliar with the treatment and healthcare setting. As a matter of fact, no one is used to being admitted to the hospital, having surgery, or dealing with a chronic disease. One of many crucial attributes of a health care practitioner, including nurses, is the capacity to resolve patient concerns. Showing compassion and recognizing when a patient is uncomfortable is required of nurses. While the nurse must discuss any dangers in order to obtain legal consent for any planned medical action, they should also make an effort to reassure patients.

By clarifying the intended medical action and providing factual information at the right moment, nurses can help patients feel less anxious. Furthermore, nurses can use the following strategies to help patients feel less anxious and more at ease throughout their treatment.

1.    Learn necessary skills

A well-educated and qualified nurse is prepared to deal with stressful situations requiring patience with worried patients. Institutes offering online nursing programs have enabled current nurses to pursue career advancement while continuing their education. Nurses can now participate in online learning programs to help them take on leadership responsibilities, give the best possible care, and affect patient outcomes. For example, nurses can enhance their current knowledge and skills by enrolling in an online masters in nursing program to help anxious patients cope with anxiety. In addition, you’ll learn how to provide cross-cultural care in the spirit of aloha, which means love, kindness, grace, and unity in Hawaiian.

2.    Introduce yourself to the patients

Introducing oneself to the patients is one way to minimize anxiety. Inform about the procedures and the following actions to the patients. Focus on the patients by inquiring about their work, children, and other aspects of their personal lives, as this may assist them in remaining calm. Clarify the reason for admitting them to the hospital. Use simple language and explain about delays. It will enable them to talk openly about their expectations and will help them avoid misunderstandings. Encourage them to inquire about their illness and treatment options. Learning about the treatment will aid in their emotional well-being. 

3.    Use breathing exercises

Controlled breathing techniques can be used to calm down patients. Some patients may not be able to communicate their needs to you. You can assist them by using relaxation methods. For example, deep breathing causes the mind, heart, and body to slow down, reducing stress’s negative consequences. When it comes to teaching their patients how to breathe, nurses have a lot of alternatives. Diaphragmatic breathing, often known as abdominal breathing, focuses on expanding the abdomen rather than the chest when inhaling; the diaphragm contracts, ensuring that the lungs fill with air and enhance oxygen intake while fostering relaxation.

4.    Create a soothing environment

Sometimes the healthcare setting may be the polar opposite of healing comfort. Adding plants to the hospital setting might help create a relaxing environment for your patients. One of the best things about incorporating natural components into hospitals and businesses is that it takes up very little space. Consider putting up artwork that is relaxing, appealing, and upbeat. Use comfortable bedding and furniture to make patients feel at home. Nurses can also offer productive distractions. Use hobbies like reading or watching television to keep them occupied. Install a fish tank or play soft, relaxing music in the background.

5.    Listen to the patients

Listening is the most crucial skill to develop while dealing with worried patients. Most patients simply want to know that you are concerned about their problems. People come into their room and talk to them, but they rarely question their well-being. Patients benefit greatly from active listening skills since it reduces their anxiety. Nurses can ask open-ended questions, inquire about their feelings, and show that they are attentive to their queries. They can show active listening by paying close attention to patients and repeating crucial information back to them. Another significant concern is paying attention to their patients’ nonverbal cues. The facial expressions and body language of a patient can tell if they are worried about something. Asking them politely and clarifying may help ease them.

6.    Allow visits

The presence of family members is supposed to alleviate anxiety, particularly during painful actions. It is said that having family around helps to relieve pain. Having family members around the sufferer is a recognized requirement, and this need is felt acutely during all times of suffering. In truth, family members are the most significant sources of support for their loved ones, particularly during difficult times. Furthermore, patients typically prefer to have family members present throughout medical and nursing procedures. Therefore, allowing family members or close friends can help to reduce anxiety. But, nurses must also be vigilant for patients who may experience anxiety due to having family members around.

7.    Use humor

Humor in nursing fosters communication and builds trust between the patient and nurse. Using humor proves to help deal with challenging patients and situations. Humor in nursing is a sophisticated nursing intervention that necessitates a great deal of creative energy and cognitive abilities. Make an effort to be cheerful and uplift others’ spirits. Inquire about the patients’ lives, including how many children or grandchildren they have, their spouses, and future plans. This accomplishes two goals. First, it provides patients something to think about other than their current predicament and anxiety. And second, it reduces stress by making them feel more at ease around you.

8.    Aromatherapy

Because of an increasing focus on integrative health, essential oils are enjoying a comeback in popularity, both at home and in acute care settings. The integrative aromatherapy programs designed by nurses are closely linked to patient satisfaction and outcomes. Essential oils affect the hippocampus that is part of the limbic system involved in memory formation. This association of memory with scents can enhance mood and reduce anxiety in patients. Nurses can use essential oils, such as lavender oil, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil to create a calming atmosphere. These oils help reduce anxiety and foster sleep in patients.

Final Words

A nurse’s job not only entails assisting a patient and their family in getting through a difficult period, but it also includes helping patients receive additional benefits from their healthcare facility and providing peace and comfort. Using these techniques to build rapport with a nervous patient can help to alleviate some of their anxiety about going to the doctor. If the overall stress is decreased, it will increase the patient outcomes and quality of services offered. 

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