ProblemResolution: Nurse-Patient Relationship

ProblemResolution: Nurse-Patient Relationship

Apoor relationship between patients and nurses reduce theeffectiveness of the therapeutic process. Unsuccessful therapy thatis associated with a poor patient-nurse relationship can be confirmedby an increase in cases of medical error, poor treatment outcome, andlow patient satisfaction. For example, it is estimated that a poorassociation and communication between nurses and their clients leadto about 44,000 deaths in the U.S. each year (Taran, 2011). A lack ofa proper relationship limits the ability of nurses to comprehend theexact medical problem that their clients are suffering from.Consequently, nurses may end up administering the wrong therapy,which reduces the satisfaction of clients, cause adverse reactions,or even death. Although both the nurse and the client contributetowards a dysfunctional relationship, health care professionals bearthe greatest responsibility because their profession requires them tomaintain an association that focuses on patients` experiences, ideas,and feelings (Iedema &amp Manidis, 2013). This paper will focus onthe issue of poor patient-nurse relationship, its causes, effects,alternative strategies, and recommend the most viable solution.

Factorsthat affect the relationship between patient and nurses

Aset of skill that lead to the establishment of a therapeuticrelationship in a health care environment is one of the keycomponents of nurse training. However, there are several factors thatlimit the ability of nurses to maintain this professionalrequirement. For example, it may be difficult for a nurse to maintaina relationship with patients who believe in supernatural healingpower, instead of formal therapeutic procedures (Douglas, Pierce,Rosenkoetter, Pacquiao, Callister &amp Hattar-Pollara, 2011).Moreover, nurses find it difficult to relate with people who speak ina different language from theirs. The lack of emotional intelligenceby either the nurse or the client can hinder their relationship.



Theability to evaluate one’s reaction to situations that areconsidered to be emotionally charged can facilitate the establishmentof a professional and effective relationship between patients andnurses. Self-awareness allows the parties involved in a relationshipto reconsider the impact of their attitudes, past experiences, andperceptions on their relationship with the other party (Douglas etal.,2011). Although nurses are expected to demonstrate a higher level ofself-awareness, patients should also be able to manage their emotionsin order to build a relationship that is mutually beneficial.Self-awareness also enhances emotional intelligence of nurses, whichenables them to manage negative emotional reactions from theirclients. This is significant because nurses are held responsible foradverse events that result from the lack of self awareness on thepart of the client. Self-awareness is a balanced strategy fordeveloping a strong relationship because it requires the contributionof each of the parties (nurses and patients) taking part in thetherapeutic relationship.


Thecapacities of nurses to demonstrate empathy makes their clients feelthat the health care providers are willing to listen and help them.By practicing empathy, nurses are able to convey their support, shareexperiences, and understand the specific medical needs of theirclients (Santo, Pohl, Saiani &amp Battistelli, 2013). Patients whofeel welcome are willing to open their hearts to nurses andcommunicate their needs. However, empathy is a one sided strategy forstrengthening the relationship between patients and nurses. This isbecause patients are usually not expected to demonstrate empathy tonurses.


Theincrease in globalization and immigration has resulted in theestablishment of a multicultural society. Consequently, nurses areforced by circumstances to address the needs of clients fromdifferent cultural backgrounds. These variations contribute towardsthe establishment of a dysfunctional relationship between thepatients and health care providers, especially when the two come fromdifferent cultures (Douglas etal.,2011). In this scenario a strong and fruitful relationship can beestablished by enhancing the cultural sensitivity of nurses, whichcan be accomplished through training. Nurses who are culturallysensitive strengthen their relationship with clients since they areaware of the differences that occur in terms of perspectives,beliefs, and cultural practices. In addition, culturally sensitivenurses are able to overcome stereotype, which is a common barrier tothe development of a strong relationship. The nurse and the clientare expected to be culturally sensitive. However, the level ofsensitivity is expected to be higher on the part of the nurse, whichindicates that the strategy is quite biased.

Collaborativegoal setting

Theconcept of collaboration is based on an idea that the partiesinvolved should work together and consult each other. Apart fromfinding a more viable solution to patient’s needs, collaborativebrings the parties closer, which is one of the key elements of astrong relationship (Douglas etal.,2011). By inviting the clients to take part in the process of settingtherapeutic goals, nurses are able to build trust with patients andenhance the relationship. Although a collaborative process of settinggoals facilitates a patient-centered care, there are some medicalscenarios (such as emergency cases) that are associated with alimited chance for collaboration.

Recommendation:Collaboration in the process of setting goals

Outof the four available alternatives, a collaborative process ofsetting goals is the most viable solution for the issue of poorpatient-nurse relationship. The process of collaboration facilitatesan interaction between the client and the nurse, which leads to thedevelopment of warm relationship (Orchard, 2011). Additionally,collaboration is the only alternative that leads to the establishmenta relationship that benefits both parties, including the nurse andthe patient. For example, the interaction between the two partiesgives the nurse an opportunity to inquire more about the medicalissues affecting the client, while the patient finds a chance toexplain the problems with clarity. Therefore, collaboration helpsnurses achieve their professional goal of addressing the specificmedical needs of their clients while patients gain by receivingquality health care. Collaboration is also an effective strategy thatcan protect patients from the risk of medical errors. Moreover, adecline in adverse events is associated with an increase in patientsafety, treatment outcome, and the satisfaction of both the clientand the nurse.


Therelationship between nurses and clients is critical because itdetermines the quality of care, safety, and satisfaction of patients.The lack of a proper therapeutic relationship between patients andnurses result in the death of thousands of patients each year. Thesedeaths are attributed to medical errors that result from themisunderstanding between nurses and patients. The challenge of a poorrelationship between the patients and health care providers can beenhanced through self-awareness, empathy, cultural sensitivity, andcollaboration. However, collaboration between patients and nursesresults in the establishment of a more sustainable relationship thatbenefits both parties.


Douglas,K., Pierce, J., Rosenkoetter, M., Pacquiao, D., Callister, L. &ampHattar-Pollara, M. (2011). Standards of practice for culturallycompetent nursing care: 2011 update. Journalof Trans-cultural Nursing,22 (4), 317-333.

Iedema,R. &amp Manidis, M. (2013). Patient-cliniciancommunication: An overview of relevant research and policyliteratures.Sydney: Center for Health Communication.

Orchard,C. (2011). Persistent isolationist or collaborator? The nurse’srole in inter-professional collaborative practice. Journalof Nursing Management,18 (3), 248-257.

Santo,L., Pohl, S., Saiani, L. &amp Battistelli, A. (2013). Empathy in theemotional interactions with patients: Is it positive for nurses too?Journalof Nursing Education and Practice,4 (2), 74-81.

Taran,S. (2011). An examination of the factors contributing to poorcommunication outside the physician-patient sphere. McGillJournal of Medicine,13 (1), 1-86.