dialysis nurse

Developing Nurse-Patient Relationships as a Dialysis Nurse

“My dialysis nurses are the best. They make me feel so comfortable during treatment. I feel like they really care about me.” Imagine your patients saying this about you.

For a patient receiving dialysis, their nurse can be the difference between a positive or negative experience. Dialysis nurses and their patients can form an unbreakable bond. One that will leave them remembering each other for the rest of their lifetimes. Of course, this is all dependent upon on the communication style of nurse that is working. 

Dialysis is an extremely time-consuming treatment for patients, oftentimes causing them to miss out on family and social events. Patients spend a majority of their time traveling to and from dialysis settings. Then, waiting to be attached to the machine, undergoing the actual dialysis treatment itself. If that weren’t enough they then spend time waiting to be discharged before going home.

Due to the involved nature of dialysis treatments, nurses can adjust their communication skills to make things more effortless and relaxed for the patient. Developing a true nurse-patient relationship can result in a smoother process for everybody involved.

One Study’s Findings on Dialysis Nurse Jobs

One study found in the Nursing Times found that dialysis nurses in the Republic of Ireland rarely communicated with their patients. They interviewed 16 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). They were undergoing hemodialysis therapy in a hospital-based setting, analyzing their findings along the way. 

In the end, the study found that the nurses only communicated with the patient when they had a physical or technical need. Patients described the communication as “shallow” and that it “rarely progressed beyond a superficial or clinical level.”

We understand that nurses are oftentimes extremely busy in a dialysis-based setting: answering the beeps of various machines, repeatedly checking each patient’s vitals, etc. Although, this study was published in the hopes of raising awareness about the type of communication they were receiving, not necessarily how much.

Quality Versus Quantity

This study described the quality versus quantity of nurse-patient communication. While patients said they understood their nurses couldn’t sit down with them and chat for thirty minutes, they said they’d appreciate more heart-to-heart and personal conversing. 

Since you can’t be with your patients for long, simple things will do the trick. Introduce yourself from the start, greet your patient by name, explain what you are doing throughout the process, and engage in active listening by repeating what they say back to them.

As a dialysis nurse, we understand the stress and drain that goes along with your job. Don’t put more pressure on yourself to do more, instead, enhance and improve what you already do.

Nonverbal Communication

The communication your patient appreciates isn’t always verbal. Here are a few nonverbal communication techniques to further develop your patient relationships as a certified dialysis nurse: 

  • Make eye contact — Even though you can’t be physically with your patient during their whole treatment, make eye contact with them from across the room. This lets them know you’re keeping an eye on them.
  • Smile — A smile can ease tension, build rapport, and increases happiness. Smiling at your patient can never be unappreciated.
  • Be confident — Nothing causes unease in a patient more than their nurse seeming unsure of what they are doing. Always be confident and professional in front of your patient.

If you or someone you know is on the hunt for dialysis nurse jobs or other healthcare clinical and administrative careers, consider looking into New Directions Staffing Services. Our travel nursing agency can provide individuals with travel, temporary-to-hire, and full-time opportunities in their field. Call (888) 654-1110 or visit our website for more information today!