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How umbrella contractor nurses can quickly build trusting patient relationships

Kerry Hull

Kerry Hull | Marketing Director

Friday 22nd Dec, 2017

How umbrella contractor nurses can quickly build trusting patient relationships

How can nurses build trust with patients and their loved ones when they are only caring for them temporarily?

Nurses are the most trusted workers out of any profession across the UK, the results of a recent survey revealed.

Building trusting relationships with patients and their loved ones is a key part of nurses' roles. For patients receiving long-term care, this trust is often built up over a period of time, but for nursing staff who work on a locum basis and regularly move between different patients, this trust needs to be built up much quicker.

But how can this be done in the best way, particularly in light of the expectations of patients and their families?

How umbrella contractor nurses can quickly build trust

Such is the nature of the current staffing situation across the NHS that healthcare providers are increasingly turning to umbrella agency nurses to fill gaps in their staffing levels. Although this type of work is usually well-remunerated, it can be an extra challenge for these nurses to quickly build trust with their patients, particularly as their profession is typically so highly regarded by the general public.

It could be argued that this puts locum nurses one step ahead of temporary workers in other professions, but the fact that they bring a personal touch to healthcare is what many people like about nurses, so this trust needs to be built on an individual basis too.

Trying to get to know patients, either by talking to them or their loved ones, if they are not in a condition to communicate themselves, will be much appreciated and can quickly be achieved through asking just a couple of questions.

Thinking one step ahead to consider what their next questions or problems might be so that you have an answer or a solution ready straight away can also help to quickly win trust with a new set of people, as can making sure to follow up on patients even if you've only spent a few minutes with them. They'll remember how much you cared and think kindly of you if they need your help in the future too.

Always greeting patients with a warm smile, listening to their worries and being understanding and respectful of their needs will also help. Even if you've never met them before and have only been temporarily assigned to their care, the fact that you have been kind to them when they are at their most vulnerable will be remembered and earn additional respect for your profession.

Nursing 'most trusted profession'

According to the latest edition of the annual Veracity Index from Ipsos Mori, 94 per cent of people believe that they can trust what nurses tell them, which puts them ahead of doctors (91 per cent).

Teachers came next on the list, with 87 per cent of respondents saying that they wholeheartedly trust what they say in a professional capacity, while professors came in fourth (85 per cent) and scientists fifth (83 per cent).

Also rated highly by members of the general public were judges (81 per cent), weather forecasters (76 per cent) and the police (74 per cent).

However, at the other end of the scale came politicians, who were trusted by just 17 per cent of those questioned, government ministers (19 per cent), professional footballers (26 per cent), journalists (27 per cent) and estate agents (also 27 per cent).

Commenting on the index rankings, Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, stated: "This is a proud and well-deserved achievement for our profession. But it is time the political establishment caught up with the rest of the public and realised just how trusted and valued nursing staff are."

Any supportive statements today must be matched with meaningful investment tomorrow. 

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