2015 Winning Essay

The 2015 A Nurse I Am Scholarship winners were asked to address the following: Patients and their family members base their perceptions of the care received on their personal experience with the medical personnel they interact with. After viewing the film "A Nurse I Am":
(1) Describe how the nurses in the film build a positive rapport with patients and their family members; and
(2) How will you ensure that you provide those you care for with a positive healthcare experience?

Travis Webb

National American University

It is essential that nurses provide care. Nursing, by definition means to nurture. We are only providing the minimum if we care for patients on a medical front. The best nurses will provide care for patients medically, mentally and emotionally.

Both films depicted four nurses serving in their respective fields: Bob Wilkinson – Pediatric Oncology, Ardis Bush – Nurse Manager, Angela Bytheway – Shriners Children’s Hospital, Mona Counts – Nurse Practitioner at a rural primary care facility.

Each nurse works in a different environment. However, the element that makes them truly excellent is their rapport with their patients. Bob Wilkinson mentions that he is a male nurse with large stature, which gives him a fatherly or grandparent image. He also sings songs to the children as he takes their vitals and performs assessments. Ardis Bush and Angela Bytheway are asking if there is anything they can do for their patients at the end of each interaction. Mona Counts not only positions herself sitting below the patient during her Alzheimer’s assessment, but she is allowing the patient to talk and reveal additional information. The body language of her sitting below the patient removes any amount of intimidation the patient might feel. This puts the patient at ease, fosters trust and ultimately builds rapport between the nurse and the patient. These nurses are clearly capable with caring for their patients and their ailments, their exceptionalism comes from their abilities to get on the patient’s level and earn their trust. The quality of rapport and trust raise the level of care that is given.

As a former athletic trainer and working in sports medicine it was imperative that I implemented the same qualities that build trust and rapport with me and my patient as nurses do. Patient’s impressions of healthcare vary. Some patients want to trust their health care team, others are extremely skeptical. It is very important that we listen to our patient. Try not to let discriminate factors cloud our judgment and assessment. A child may be too scared to even speak; an elderly man might criticize you and swear at you; a patient might be using their call button every five minutes. By taking the time and listening to the patient, offering a sympathetic ear or providing a small laugh can make the difference with the patient opening up and trusting that you have their best interest in mind and you are ready to help them. One of my many skills is the ability to make people laugh and put them at ease. I am certainly not a comedian. However, I have greased more wheels and found the trust of more patients by getting them to smile or laugh. My experiences with tough, stoic athletes that are in dire need of my help do not want me to know that they are injured or hurting. I used laughter to get them to open up, tell me what really happened and get them onto the right track toward healing. Concurrently with nursing and from the A Nurse Am I videos, I can see how my implementing humor and genuine concern will prove to be beneficial for myself and for my patients.

By being genuine, wanting to help, using some humor and most importantly, listening, I plan to give the best care that I can give my patients. Along with my experience and education, I am certain that I can make a positive difference in the patient’s healthcare needs.

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