Jim Martin, MPSA, CCHP, Accreditation Specialist with the National Commission Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), joins Lorry to talk about communication with incarcerated patients. He presented a session on Strategic Bedside Manner: How to Tactically Speak with Inmates at the NCCHC Spring Conference on Correctional Health Care in Atlanta, April 29-May 2, 2017.
Words have power, and they are particularly powerful in a controlled environment like a jail or prison. Correctional nurses need effective communication skills to deliver health care in this setting. Jim Martin shares tips to tactically use communication in this setting.
A good starting point when focusing on effective communication is to know your personal triggers. What patient reactions, responses, or personalities cause you to respond poorly? Jim suggests that we go into every conversation in a good state of mind. That means to feel no anger, feel no fear, and have no ego in the game.
Respect is Primary
Civility and respect are important in all patient communications. Many of our patients have lost much of their self-respect. Treatment by officers and other inmates may be brutal, humiliating, or degrading. Positive regard in a nurse-patient relationship, then, is quite noticeable and appreciated. Respectful communication can yield great results.
Focus on the Future
When dealing with crisis communication, Jim suggests that we focus on the future and turn an argument into a discussion of options. Sometimes the patient just needs an opportunity to be heard. Let them tell their story and seek options for moving forward.
More than Words
Communication is definitely more than the words we speak. Our voice tone and body language reveal much about our attitude toward the patient and the situation. Eye rolling, a sarcastic voice tone, or crossed arms speak volumes. So does lack of eye contact, turning away from the patient, or dismissively interrupting them. Watch your non-verbal cues when talking with patients.
Listen to the podcast to gain more helpful tips to tactically speak with inmates.
How about you? Do you have advice for communication with inmate patients? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.