Tips for Nurses: How to Have Patience with Patients

It's importance that nurses are able to maintain patience with their patients.

Although becoming a nurse is very rewarding, because it's such an important job you are bound to run into stressful situations every now and then. Whether it's a lack of sleep, a doctor being short-tempered or a patient complaining, you can reduce your stress level by cultivating your ability to be patient.

"Patience helps in any situation," author M.J. Ryan told "In medical care, nurses are asked to be doing more and more with less and less. Keeping a cool head on your shoulders and having compassion is clearly something that helps. It helps create answers and solutions and it helps the body physiologically."

Yet in a high-stakes environment like a hospital, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain a calm demeanor when things get out of hand. This is particularly true when a patient is displaying challenging behavior because patient care is central to the job of a nurse.

This may happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the patient is experiencing psychiatric trauma, is in a great deal of pain or under the influence of drugs. The first thing nurses need to do is take a deep breath and try not take anything personally.

"The more calm you get, the more you're able to rationally deal with the situation," Ryan told the source. "Patients feel you are taking care of things and not freaked out."

While maintaining a tough skin, nurses can help to calm patients by acknowledging their feelings. However, nurses should be careful to maintain boundaries and insist that patients treat them with the respect you deserve as their caregiver.

Be strong and clear as you discuss the issue with your patient, and make sure you have an understanding of your hospital's policy when it comes to abusive behavior. Make a note if anyone witnessed the situation, and document it immediately after it occurs in case you need to contact someone on a higher level.

Maintaining patience with your patients and having a thick skin will help you deal with the inevitable stressors that comes with such an important job. If you keep a sense of humor and remember why you became a nurse in the first place, you will be able to continue to give quality patient care even when you're having a tough day.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN and BSN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit our website at

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (7 votes)