New CNA: 10 Tips for Building Rapport with your Patients

Relationships are complicated. Building a relationship with your patients can be even more so, especially if you work in a hospital setting where the patient only knows you for a short period of time. This blog post will give 10 tips to help build that connection and make your day just a little bit easier!

1. Smile and make eye contact

Eye contact is an important part of communicating with another person. It shows that you are present in the conversation, care about what they’re saying, and are actively listening to them. Smiling makes people feel good inside when they interact with someone who seems happy!

If your patient looks nervous or scared, don’t neglect them because their expression might make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, spend a little more time with them and try to get the patient smiling as quickly as possible! If they don’t want to smile or can’t manage one, that’s okay too. You just need to show them that there is nothing for them to be nervous about and everything will go smoothly today.

2. Be friendly

A simple way that you can be more personable is by telling your patient your first name when they wake up or before their procedure begins. It will make them feel more comfortable if they know who is working on them and talking with them. Be positive! You don’t have to pretend that everything is going perfectly, but you can be a little more subtle about things. If there has been a mistake or something went wrong, it’s okay to mention it.

However, try not to make the patient feel bad about themselves because of what happened and focus on making sure they understand how you are going to fix the issue.

3. Asking questions

When you are working with your patient, ask them questions to try and understand what they think about certain things. This will help the both of you get on the same page and make sure that he or she is comfortable when it comes time for procedures and treatments.

You can also ask them how their day has been going so far. If they are positive, you can ask them to elaborate on why things have been going well; if not, try and figure out what is wrong in a non-confrontational way that doesn’t make the patient feel like there’s something wrong with him or her.

4. Build rapport by sharing about yourself

Asking your patients questions is a great way to build rapport. There are also a few things you can share with your patient that will help them feel more comfortable around you and make the relationship easier. You don’t have to tell them everything, but some basic information is okay as long as it doesn’t seem like you’re trying too hard or being fake about it!

If you are religious, you can let your patient know. If there is a song that they might like to hear or something the two of you could do together while they wait for their procedure, tell them about it!

5. Relax

Sometimes when we get nervous our words don’t come out how we want them to. It’s okay if this happens to you, but there are a few things that you can do to help yourself relax and sound confident.

Take deep breaths before speaking with your patient. You may even want to try meditating or listening to calm music as well. This way when it’s time for the conversation, you won’t start off on edge right away! If getting up and walking around helps you relax, then go ahead and do it.

Just be yourself! If your patient already likes you as a CNA or doctor, they will know if something is wrong when talking with them. They probably wouldn’t have liked the old version of themselves either so don’t worry about trying to act like someone else; just focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be!

6. Don’t talk about unnecessary things

You don’t need to tell your patient every single detail and aspect about your day. If it’s not related to something going on with them, then there isn’t a reason for you to bring it up. Save those conversations for later so that both of you will have time to talk and bond with each other.

7. Be mindful of your body language

Body language is a huge part of building rapport with your patient. If you want to be able to talk with them about anything, then their body language has to match what they are saying- even if it’s just for that moment in time.

If the patient seems angry and tense when speaking with them and you do something like sit back and cross your arms, it’s not going to help the situation at all. Instead, try sitting forward and making eye contact with them so that they know you are there to listen!

If the patient seems relaxed when talking about certain things, then mirror their body language back to them in a positive way by leaning in towards them or nodding along while they are speaking. This will let them know that the two of you are on the same page and ready to work together!

If possible, lean back or look away when they say something serious! Don’t make things more awkward than they already are by showing too much empathy for their situation.

8. Use the patient’s name often, but don’t overdo it

Using the patient’s name is a great way to build rapport because it connects you with them on another level. It shows that you are paying attention to what they say and how they feel about things, which makes them more comfortable around you!

Just don’t overdo it by saying their name every other sentence or so- then it just seems forced and unnatural.

9. Be enthusiastic

Sometimes we get tired or worn out from a long day at work, but that can’t stop you from being enthusiastic about your patient’s experience! If he or she is excited because of the end results, for example, try and be as happy as they are. If they are nervous and scared, try and make them feel more comfortable about the procedure.

10. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination

If you think that a certain conversation is needed in order for things to go smoothly, then by all means! Ask questions, tell stories or even sing songs if it helps get rid of some tension. There isn’t just one way to build rapport with your patient. You can come up with different activities or conversation starters that work best for you!

Building rapport with your patients is an important part of working as a CNA. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to start or what words you should use. We hope, Those tips will help build that connection and make your work day just a little bit easier!