Last week I put forward some ideas as to why surveys consistently show that Nurses are the most trusted of people. This week I’d like to explore how nurses maintain that trust and what happens if that trust is lost.
I proposed previously that almost by default a nurse is granted trust simply by the fact of being called a nurse. Even before contact is made with the patient a level of trust exists, an expectation that the nurse will know what they are doing. This has been brought about by the history and reputation built up by nurses over the years and the exacting standards demanded by educational and industry organisations.
Maintaining trust isn’t hard but there are a few golden rules to follow to do so.
- HONESTY – The ability to say “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure”, “I’ll find out for you” are three of the most powerful phrases a nurse possesses in his / her vocabulary. Honestly admitting you don’t know everything generates trust as the patient feels assured that every measure taken in their care has been considered to be best practice and the most appropriate.
- INTEGRITY – Every nurse will make mistakes, we all do. This in itself will not cause a rift in the trust relationship. What does are any attempts to cover up or make excuses for errors that occur. As painful as it can be admitting to mistakes, openly disclosing where things have gone wrong may dint a nurses trust but the respect gained will be fair compensation for this
- ADVOCACY – Patients trust that a nurse always have their best interest at heart. Advocating for the patient, sticking up for their rights, putting forward their point of view will do much more than just endear you into their heart. They will trust you that the care of plan developed for them is appropriate, that the medications prescribed are correct and that the education you give to them is accurate and up to date.
What happens when the trust is lost
Sadly, when the trust is lost in a nurse, it is lost forever. Patients, fellow nurses and society as a whole are not our Mothers. They are not required to forgive or forget if trust is compromised or broken. Nor should they. For once a nurse loses the trust of the patient or their colleagues there will always remain a doubt in the back of their minds. Regardless of whatever remedial action has taken place the lingering question will always be “Can you be Trusted?” More likely than not, the look in their eyes will be your answer.