Beyond Naming

When you are with a patient whose emotions are running high, acknowledging their emotion by naming it can help that person move forward in the conversation.  But there are pitfalls with naming too - see what we recommend to make your NURSE statements more effective!

Hoping for a cure

Have you ever asked a patient what they're hoping for, and they reply: "I'm hoping for a cure". When your medical judgment tells you that a cure isn't in the cards? The first time this happened to me, I didn't quite know what to reply: "Uh, well, i'm feeling like i wished i hadn't asked that question?" Not so good. Fortunately, there is something you can say: in fact, you can align with your patient, and even keep the conversation moving forward. Check it out... With special thanks to the Vitaltalkers we met in Copenhagen!

The pitfall about 'quiet'

You’re talking about something serious, your patient isn’t saying much, so you keep going...and going. Then later, your patient asks again--because they didn't get it. It's an all-too-common pitfall you can avoid: don’t assume that ‘quiet’ = ‘listening and understanding’. ‘Quiet’ might be the best face possible—put on by a patient who is experiencing something very different internally…