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As a nurse or other caregiver, you likely spend a significant amount of time with your patients. While doctors might get a good chunk of the glory, you're the one who checks on them, keeps up on their medication and performs other essential tasks. Because of your career, you may already command respect and trust; for the past 12 years, Americans have ranked nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics via an annual Gallup survey.

With the level of contact you have with your patients, building a rapport with them can offer big benefits, including helping you increase their quality of care and making your job easier.

Building trust and familiarity with your patients can make them feel more comfortable and be more honest when talking you with about their health. In addition, once you understand a patient’s personality, you’ll be better positioned to note changes that may be indicative of health problems as well as know how to keep the patient cooperative and in good spirits.

1. Communicate Often and Well

Effective communication is the foundation on which you can establish trust with your patients. You go through a getting-to-know-you phase with the patient that works much better if you can quickly establish a snapshot of their life, such as learning about their hobbies, friends, family, and their day to day activities and working environment. A major part of being a good communicator as a nurse is clearly educating patients on the various health challenges they are facing. Being a good listener is just as important – you should fully hear out all concerns and ask follow-up questions of your patient before arriving at any conclusion

2. Express Empathy

You need to be able to empathize with your patient without being emotionally overwhelmed yourself. You may have a lot on your mind, and the patient may not be the most pleasant person to be around--perhaps due to stress, pain, confusion, and other issues—but it's important that be mentally present while also not allowing let their issues or attitude to affect you emotionally. Your goal should be to relate while still having some walls between you and what the patient is going through. This also helps you make objective decisions while advocating for the patient.

3. Project Calmness

As a nurse, you want to come across as calm, competent, and in control of the situation. Your confidence helps to reassure the patient that all is as it should be. If a situation occurs that is frightening for the patient, they can remain calm, assured that you have it handled on their behalf.

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