Good bedside manner is critical to achieving optimal patient outcomes. To implement good bedside care properly, nurses need to communicate effectively, educate patients and understand cultural differences. A Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program equips nurses with the skills they need to provide great bedside care.
Why Good Bedside Manner Is Important
Good bedside manner may result in better health outcomes for patients. It can also positively affect nurses’ career satisfaction and morale, which can ultimately benefit the nation’s health system.
Better Patient Outcomes
“Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,” a report issued by the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine [NAM] since 2015), emphasizes the need to create a system that provides safer, more effective care. Providing good bedside manner is an essential component in achieving this goal.
A study published in PlosOne suggests “that the patient-clinician relationship has a small, but statistically significant effect on healthcare outcomes.” The randomized controlled trials measured adult patients with a specific disorder. Some of the clinicians’ cues the study analyzed include improved communication skills, making appropriate eye contact, not interrupting the patient and paying better attention to non-verbal signals.
From 2004 through 2008, the Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) initiative — a product of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement — tested strategies for improving bedside care. The initiative focused on frontline nurses in medical-surgical units, where 35 to 40 percent of expected hospital deaths occur, and where nurse turnover is highest. Per the study, increasing the time nurses spend with patients promotes their health and level of satisfaction. Healthcare facilities participating in the TCAB program also showed a significant reduction in harmful falls and readmissions within 30 days of discharge.
Improved Staff Morale
According to TCAB, increased time at patients’ bedsides improved staff vitality. Nurse turnover rates dropped from more than 15 percent in 2004 to less than 5 percent in 2006.
According to Megan Malugani in “Good Bedside Manners Make a Difference,” healthcare workers who practice good bedside manner may feel more content with their jobs. Maureen Mahoney, a nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital, says bedside care gives clinicians a chance to improve hospital experiences for patients and their families.
Why Nurses Should Aim to Improve in this Area
There are many reports emphasizing the critical role nurses play in our healthcare system. The IOM’s report “Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” calls for nurses to be at the forefront of healthcare, collaborating with physicians and other healthcare workers to provide optimal care.
“Nursing Staff in Hospitals and Nursing Homes: Is it Adequate?” — also by the IOM — says nurses play a critical role in determining quality of care and patient outcomes. According to the TCAB report, nurses caring for medical-surgical unit patients play a central role in ensuring their quality of care. Nurses are the providers who are in most regular contact with patients, caring for them at the bedside.
Good bedside manner is essential to patient health and well-being, and it improves staff morale, individual healthcare worker satisfaction and the overall health system. The onus is on nurses, as well as doctors and other healthcare staff, to provide good bedside manner as part of a patient-centered care system. Nurses may benefit from the online RN to BSN program at Purdue University Northwest, a program that helps students strengthen a number of pertinent skills, including communication, leadership and decision-making.
Learn about the Purdue Northwest online RN to BSN program.
Retrieved from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (n.d.). The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Retrieved from The Influence of the Patient-Clinician Relationship on Healthcare Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. (2014, April 9). PLOS
Retrieved from Transforming Care at the Bedside. (n.d.). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Retrieved from The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. (2011). The National Academies Press
Retrieved from Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (n.d.) Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Retrieved from Malugani, Megan. (n.d.). NursingLink
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